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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

'Grigris' DVD: Chad Oscar-submitted Cannes Film Drama About a Man's Need to Cut Footloose

Product Details
Superior purveyor of independent foreign films Film Movement demonstrates the terrific range of titles in its awesome Film of the Month Club in pairing the 2013 Chad Cannes selection and Oscar-submitted crime-drama "Grigris" with the Unreal TV reviewed Canadian family drama "The Auction" regarding the August 2014 club selection. Movement is releasing separate DVD sets of both films to the general public on August 19, 2014.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer for "Grigris" includes glimpses of some pivotal scenes in the film. It also provides a good overall sense of the themes.

The title of "Grigris" refers to the nickname of central character Souleymane Deme. In true "Flashdance" style, Grigris spends his days working at the primitive photo studio that his step-father operates in a city in Chad and his nights being a genuine (fully clothed) very popular dancer for money at a local night club.

Said step-father developing a serious illness requires both that Grigris postpone his plans to become a professional dancer and that he quickly raise money for hospital bills. This results in our hero very reluctantly joining a criminal gang.

Grigris developing a truly loving relationship with Mimi, who earns her living by engaging in the oldest profession in the world, takes center stage when Grigris betraying his new employers requires that Mimi help him avoid the full consequences of that action.

This all leads to a surprising showdown that demonstrates the value of the "village" approach to community.  It additionally sends a (somewhat warped) nice message about showing the people who show you their love on a daily basis the extreme to which you will go to reciprocate of that affection.

To avoid leaving readers hanging regarding the value of this Chad export, this review will conclude with a hearty endorsement of the film. It is a well-written intriguing story about a likable man who experiences desperate circumstances that require equally desperate measures. Further, it does not glorify crime but does show that breaking the law is sometimes the only means for achieving a noble purpose. (Do not try this at home kids.)

The always-included bonus short this time is the aptly titled beautifully drawn (and mostly silent) animated film "Feral" about the effort to "civilize" a wolf boy. The imagery in the last few minutes in this one particularly provide an awesome Native American vibe.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Grigris" is strongly encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.