Touki Bouki Film Analysis

Topics: Africa, Sacrifice, African people Pages: 3 (921 words) Published: November 16, 2012
Touki Bouki (1973)

The ringing of clashing metal repeats rhythmically. A young man is paraded down a rural street, crucified on the back of a truck. Two villagers prepare a calf for sacrifice. One man restrains the struggling animal as the other slits its neck crudely. A young woman stands tall, her back against the sun. With eyes downcast, she removes her shirt, exposed. The knife slices deeper into its neck. Vivid red blood spurts across the sacrificial tray. A slight smirk plays on her face as she kneels down. Slowly, she lowers her body… Djibril Mambety’s 1973 film Touki Bouki seems simple enough at a glance; two spirited, rebellious young lovers, determined to do whatever it takes to get out of their derelict town and live their dreams in the big city across the ocean. The plot is certainly not the most unusual, but true to the roots of oral tradition, it is the vivid sights and sounds evoked by effective story-telling that distinguish Touki Bouki as one of the best examples of African cinema. Through the high symbolism embedded in the cross-cutting, as well as the location-specific mise-en-scene, Mambety utilizes the strong visuals of Touki Bouki to generate an atmosphere of distinctly African nature and folklore. Cross-cutting, or parallel editing, is one of the recurring techniques which Mambety uses in his films to juxtapose two distinct objects to create a single provoking imagery. In the above mentioned scene from Touki Bouki, Mory is first seen tied to the back of a truck, his cow skull memento against his chest. This shot is immediately followed by a shot of two men performing an animal sacrifice. The cross-cutting immediately primes the audience to associate the calf to Mory, and is further solidified by the way in which Mory is tied to the truck, very much in the style of a crucifixion. As a further establishment of this relation, the following shot shows Anta removing her clothes, a flash-forward of a later scene in which she has sex with Mory...
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