BENIN – Africa Paradise – Sylvestre Amoussou
As we have seen, immigration is one the main topics of the New African Cinema. In most African movies, the main character is bound to leave his country to earn money in Europe and send it to his family. African Paradise offers a completely different vision of the subject. Actually Sylvestre Amoussou imagines the other way round: what if the Europe was economically devastated and a wave of European immigration came to Africa?
In the year 2033 of an imaginary future, Africa has become a powerful federation while the crisis in Europe leads to famine and civil war. Like many Europeans, the protagonists, a young French couple, arrives illegally in Africa looking for work. Pauline is a teacher who is hired as a cleaning lady by a moderate member of the parliament, Modibo. Meanwhile, her husband, Oliver, a computer specialist, tries to escape from the transit camp where he is jailed. Both of them like other Europeans will endure all the common humiliations of migrants from everywhere: racism, fear of police, disdain and problems with administration…
For his first feature, Sylvestre Amoussou signed a social and political satire blaming prejudice on migration and xenophobia on political parties. Yet, despite the director’s generosity helped by the pretty soundtrack made by Wasis Diop, the low budget and the poor acting of the protagonists undermine the impact of the movie. The characters are built on stereotypes, so everybody could recognize real life situations in them, but too many stereotypes also keep us from diving into this imaginary experience which could have been an exceptional call to tolerance.
Africa Paradise – Sylvestre Amoussou – 2007 – 86’