Namibian Premiere: “La Pirogue” by Moussa Toure, SAT 30 March 2013 at 7pm, Goethe-Centre Windhoek

On Saturday, 30 March 2013 at 7 pm, AfricAvenir presents the Namibian Premiere of the award winning Senegalese film "La Pirogue" (Senegal/France, 2012, Original with English subtitles, 87 min) by Moussa Toure.  "La Pirogue" tells the story of Baye Laye (Souleymane Seye Ndiaye), a boat captain who hails from a fishing village outside Dakar. It follows his ordeal after he agrees to take a pirogue containing 30 men to Spain’s Canary Islands in search of a better life in Europe.

Capably directed by Moussa Touré, a sometimes politician and bittersweet chronicler of his country’s social woes in several previous dramas and documentaries, this "Un Certain Regard" entry at Cannes is dedicated to the 5000 or so Africans who have died trying to cross to Europe in the last decade

Baye Laye is an experienced fisherman and family man who is being forced by economic and moral pressures to reluctantly captain a refugee boat for a Dakar-based people-smuggling operation. After some tense negotiation, Baye Laye and his human cargo of around 30 souls set out from Senegal in a mood of strained optimism. Predictably, their crossing soon becomes a nightmarish ordeal.nA female stowaway (Mame Astou Diallo) causes friction among the otherwise all-male group, while minor tensions simmer across ethnic and religious divisions. Passengers sicken and die, others are washed overboard in storms. A harrowing encounter with another pirogue, floating on the high seas without food or power, becomes an ominous portent. Soon Laye’s boat itself suffers a similar fate, its engines shutting down, its course pulled out into the mid Atlantic by powerful ocean currents. The vessel begins to drift – and so, alas, does the plot.  

Handsomely shot in fairly conventional style by a mixed Senegalese and French crew, La Pirogue is a well-crafted melodrama in classic issue-movie mold. The cast are capable, the dramatic conflict punchy, and the soundtrack sprinkled with the pretty, sinewy, laid back sounds of Senegal, a nation rightly famous for its vibrant music scene. 


  • Bronze Stallion, Pan-African Film & TV Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), 2013
  • Golden Tanit, Carthage Film Festival, 2012
  • Best Direction, and Award of the Public (les «Valois» du public), Festival d’Angoulême, France, 2012
  • ARRI Award for Best Foreign Film, Munich Film Festival, 2012
  • Official Selection Un Certain Regard, Cannes International Film Festival, 2012
  • At the world premiere in Cannes in 2012, Moussa Toure, the crew and some parts of the cast were accompanied by a man who has held the Senegalese flag for decades through his music, Youssou N’DourInterview with Senegalese Minister for Culture, Youssou NDour and Moussa Toure, after the world premiere in Cannes 2012 here:

nDate: Sat. 30. March
Time: 19h00
Entrance: 30,- N$
Venue: Goethe-Centre, Auditorium
This screening is made possible with financial assistance by the Finnish Embassy in Windhoek.

The film series African Perspectives is supported by the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre, WhatsOnWindhoek, and the Goethe-Centre Windhoek.

© Copyright AfricAvenir 2013


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