2013 S&A Black Cinema Database Entry #4 - 'GrisGris'
Photo Credit: S & A

2013 S&A Black Cinema Database Entry #4 - 'GrisGris'


As I noted in an entry towards the end of last year, 2013 should be an interesting year for black cinema (at the studio level, indie, and across the disapora). Looking down my continuously-growing list of black films scheduled for release (theatrical, TV, or home video), as well as those that will debut on the film festival circuit this year, it's quite long, and, as noted, is still growing.

In fact, I'd say that we might find ourselves in one of those rare years, when there's a fuller than usual slate of studio-backed black films, to complement the indies – an indie slate that, given what we know so far, should be strong – and foreign (to the USA) titles from Africa, Europe, South America, Canada, etc.

As I usually do at the start of every year, I take a long, hard look at everything we should look forward to for the year; but given how lengthy my list is, and the fact that it continues to grow the more research I do, I'm taking a different approach this year. 

Instead of compiling a single list into one lengthy post, I'm going to highlight each film individually, 1 per day, until I've listed them all. No worries, there won't be 365 titles; I'm still going to be somewhat selective in deciding which titles to highlight. But not too strict, so as to include as many as possible. We'll just see how it goes, and take it a day at a time, as the database is built.

#1 was Bow Wow's military thriller, Allegiance, opened (last week); #2, Marlon Wayans' found-footage horror-comedy, A Haunted House; #3, Tina Gordon Chism's We The Peeples.

Entry #4 is Chadian filmmaker Mahamat Saleh-Haroun's follow-up to his last work, the critically-acclaimed drama Un Homme Qui Crie (aka A Screaming Man).

Titled Grisgris, the film was shot last fall, and we're expecting it to debut on the international film festival circuit some time this year – likely later in the year; although he's done well at the Cannes Film Festival in the recent past, which takes place in May.

The film centers on Grisgris, a 25 year old boy with dreams of becoming a dancer despite the fact that he's paralyzed from the waist down. His dreams are shattered when his uncle falls seriously ill. To save him, he decides to work for petrol smugglers.

Not quite the same father/son relationship theme that seems to run through his work (see Abouna-2002, Daratt-2006, A Screaming Man-2010), but still seemingly very much in that similar relational vein. 

This may in no way be of any consequence, but I learned that the term "Gris-gris" refers to an amulet that is believed to protect the wearer from evil or brings luck. 

We'll just have to wait to find out more. 

The film stars Soulémane DéméMariam MonoryCyril Guei, and Marius Yelolo (who's worked with Haroun on at least 2 other past films).

Grisgris is produced by Florence Stern for Pili Films, with Chad's Goï Goï Productions and Frances 3 Cinéma.

I'm certainly looking forward it.

But while we await the arrival of his fourth feature, you can stream Haroun's last film, A Screaming Man, on Netflix right now.

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