Quick Thoughts: Africa Paradis (2007)
This is a film made by Sylvestre Amoussou, and is the Beninese film of the series.
Africa Paradis is a weirdly transportive movie. Not only is this a sci-fi(ish) film about a world in which the West essentially falls and Africa unites as a world-leading power, but Africa Paradis feels so much like a movie directly from the 90s – even though it was made in 2007. To better define this movie, it feels like a very mediocre movie from the 90s (a class of film I seemingly have a weak spot for). I then found this oddly entertaining and was, quite unexpectedly, left wanting more.
Starting with the positives, this is a very amusing film thanks to its use of light satire. What’s more, the direction is fine – never anything spectacular – just like the performances and writing. Moreover, the characters are all well constructed and probably the most compelling aspect of this movie. The real downfalls of Africa Paradis come with the dumb action scenes and jarring soundtrack. However, concerning the narrative, this is an ok story that is just a little too sentimental and simple. As could be guessed, this is a highly political film that essentially means to comment on immigration by depicting an alternate, reversed world in which French people struggle to immigrate into African countries such as Benin and find work. Whilst this is an interesting concept, however cliched, and the narrative handles the perspective of an immigrant somewhat well, the wider commentary is nothing more than a call for open boarders and more lenient immigration laws. This is certainly nothing profound, nor nuanced and complex enough to really be considered and pondered upon too deeply.
So, all in all, this shouldn’t really be a movie you go to see for its subtext, rather its characters and weirdly immersive narrative. Whilst many people probably won’t like this, if you’re interested in world cinema, certainly give this a go.
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