Thursday, April 26, 2007

Film: La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil

Directed by Djibril Diop Mambety.

A crippled young girl from the countryside tries to survive on the streets of Dakar. The odds seem stacked against her especially when the rough newspaper boys are brutish in their efforts to dissuade her. But she finds a protector and friend and the two thrive.

Sili is a girl with polio whose spirited desire to fend for herself and her blind grandmother, makes her a winner in the eyes of everyone around her, including those who might want to torment her. Radiant with pride and determination, the girl is the quintessence of the real nature of surviving and Mambety captures all of that in the young girl’s performance beautifully.

La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil is a film of great warmth, charm and spirit. The title is a lovely pun – Sili asks a friend why the opposition paper [Le Sud] outsells hers [Le Soleil], and he tells her that it is because it is the people’s choice. Sili insists on selling the Sun so, she believes, that the government can come closer to the people. At the end of the film, Mambety’s humanistic conception is clearly stated in an afterword “Cette histoire est un hmyne au courage des enfants de la rue. [This story is a hymn to the courage of the children of the streets].

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