Under the Starry Sky

France and Senegal submitted "Des ├ętoiles" to the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival (English captions). This award-winning film (Jury Award and Audience Award - Angers European Film Festival 2014) is directed by Dyana Gaye.

As we all know, African emigration is a world-wide issue which seems to mobilize all sides of the political spectrum. We follow three separate stories which loop us from Senegal to Italy to America and back to Senegal as they examine the African diaspora from all sides.

We see:
  • A young wife from Senegal arrives in Turin, Italy, seeking her husband. It is immediately obvious to us in the audience that he had taken up with another woman, but has since left the country.
  • That husband is now in New York City, reluctant to take handouts and unable to obtain a legal work permit. He is treated kindly by some New Yorkers...not so kindly by his cousin...
  • A widow and her son arrive in Senegal from the United States for a memorial service for her late husband, only to be joined by a second wife and HER children. The son is startled to discover that he has siblings.
  • The young wife figures out what has happened and accepts help from an Italian woman who runs a shelter of sorts. She gets a job and becomes acquainted with another person at the shelter. She refuses to return to Senegal.
I was pleased to see the occasional kindness with which these migrants are treated. Sometimes it can be a horror story but this time it was more upbeat. We had plenty of people to root for, as we watch them adapt and adjust.