Grigris

(Chad, France, 2013, 101 mins, DCP)
CAST Souleymane Démé, Anaïs Monory, Cyril Guei, Marius Yelolo, Hadje Fatime N’Goua
PROD Florence Stern
SCR Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
CAM Antoine Héberlé
ED Marie-Hélène Dozo
PROD DES Ledoux Madeona
MUS Wasis Diop
PROD CO Pili Films / Goï Goï Productions / France 3 Cinéma
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This unusual film noir is set in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, where 25-year-old Grigris (Souleymane Démé) works with his stepfather as a commercial photographer by day, but by night reveals another persona entirely. Despite his paralyzed leg, his amazing choreography makes him an acclaimed nightclub dancer. His talent attracts the attention of another outsider, Mimi (Anais Monory), a mixed-race prostitute who aspires to be a model.

When Grigris’ stepfather falls ill and his mother can’t pay the hospital bills, he needs to make money fast. He turns to a high-ranking gang leader to help him find work as a petrol smuggler. But he is not suited to this strenuous work and his feelings for Mimi lead him to double-cross his dangerous new boss…

“I got to know a story about the smugglers in Chad, this is what I was planning to make a film about. At the beginning I even wanted to make a documentary, but of course they did not particularly like the idea… The first draft of the script was more of a thriller, and I really wanted to avoid that. I didn’t want to make a pale copy of a Hollywood film. I was stuck, I didn’t know what to do. And Grigris—Souleymane—appeared in my life as a gift from God, a magic amulet.”—Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

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