Sunday, January 22, 2017

Auteur Watch - Safi Faye

For some, and probably not that many, filmmaking is a joyous experience, and they float from project to project, while all the rest in their wake do all the heavy worrying and lifting, and special effects nerds spend four years of their life grinding away on an eight-second special effect that, if you blink, you'll probably miss.  That's where the sound guys come in, with visual cues to help you remember to wanna go back and check out what you missed by blinking.
For others, however, it's an uphill battle all the way.  And just as Donald Drumpf knows that the American presidency is probably something worth trying to hang on to, so too do film directors know that trying to get to that rather plain-looking folding chair for said director is a worthwhile goal, even if the rest of your family doesn't agree with that logic at all.  And no matter how much they mutter about getting out of the biz forever, they still wanna go for it with renewed vigor and passion.
And so, our next auteur, Senegalese triple threat Safi Faye, seems to fall into that pesky second category.  And it would seem that Senegal is Africa's Hollywood, and to be out of Senegal is to be out of town.
Safi's cinematic journey began with something called Petit a Petit or Little by Little in English.  Safi was bitten by the acting bug before the directing bug got a bite.  And given that she plays a character in the movie named Safi, well... it's either the stars and planets lining up in grand coincidence style, or it's just extreme laziness on the part of the writer / director / cinematographer / caterer.  Who does this guy or gal think he is?  Peter HyamsMary Ann Bernard?
One taste of France, and it was right back to Senegal to begin the long director's journey.  The first title to pass into obscurity was La Passante.  It's not even at Scarecrow Video, for God's sake!  After a long break to grouse about how cruel and unusual the business is, it was time for Kaddu Beykat with Assane Faye as Ngor, a young man... any relation, perhaps?
Having conquered the world of fiction, it was time to move on to the world of fact, which brings us to two documentary films and... well, if the IMDb won't tell me what they're about, where else am I supposed to go?  Wikipedia? ... okay, Wikipedia it is.  And to make matters worse, apparently her native Senegal has taken to banning her films rather than showing them.  Well, screw that country.  Probably better to live in Paris anyway.
1996 brought us so many great films, mostly The English Patient, but Safi was busy as well!  She completed and released the strangely autobiographical Mossane with Alpha Diouf as.. Ngor?!!!  Well, you can't keep a good name down.  As for Safi, well... apparently, that was really, really it.  She'd been thinking about getting off this celluloid merry-go-round for years, but this was finally the proper catalyst she was waiting for.  Time to quit the best job in the world, and move on to the second best job in the world: single parent.  And should their kid maybe someday see a movie camera lying around, or run across that old grainy VCR copy of La Passante or Mossane, well...

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