Sunday, August 21, 2016

Auteur Watch - Françoise Ellong

The pride of Cameroon, Françoise has finally graduated from the exhausting world of short films to the coveted magical fraternity of feature length pics.  No one reviews shorts anymore!!  And yet, they get found and picked by the Oscars.  Go figure.  The most compelling title is, of course, Rachel's Last Call.  But personally, I kinda like the ring of Now and Them.  Now, you're asking yourself, Now and Then?  The chick flick?  No, I said THEM not THEN!  M, not N!  Oops... it's Lesli Linka Glatter.  Don't badmouth it.  Don't do it!  I. Marlene King, okay, but not Glatter.
But let's get back to that feature film of hers.  It's called W.A.K.A., which stands for... something.  Let me double check.  Okay, according to this, it's Cameroonian slang for prostitute.  And, strangely close to English!  Street walker, W.A.K.A. ... strange.  Not much of a stretch.
The plot is that a mother, probably Mathilde, is forced to become a prostitute to make ends meet.  Like all parents, she does it for her son Adam... the most popular name for Cameroon boys, apparently.  Well, I'll give Francoise points for originality, even though there are about 4,000 titles involving prostitution in one way or another.  Not many prostitutes do it for their kids; at least, not in the movies.  But parents in general take a lot of crap from society at large.  The only one that comes to mind is Sunshine Cleaning, where a mom starts a crime scene cleanup business to send her young son to private school.  The Monty Burnses of the world put their bony fingers together and say "Excellent!" in unison.  Necessity is the mother of invention, indeed!  Also seems to lead to more necessity, frankly.  Invention also tends to lead to cheap knock-offs and/or theft outright.  Okay, here's the other title I thought of.  It's now called Undercover Heat.  It was on Cinemax some twenty-odd years ago and... what?  What did I say?  Perhaps its only redeeming feature was that its star, Athena Massey, did an episode of "Seinfeld" so I guess I wasn't the only one watching!  Yeesh.

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