Pic opens in a village in Burkina Faso. Eugene (Ismael Lo), an easy-going, cheerful peddler of cigarettes, candy and chewing gum, decides to leave his wife and children and head for the city of Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast, where he hopes to find fame and fortune as a musician. There he meets Kassi (Georgette Pare), a prostitute who offers him accommodation on a platonic basis, though he finds himself attracted to her. But Kassi is talked into having sex with clients sans a condom for three times her usual payment, and eventually succumbs to AIDS. Eugene, who has just started to have some success as a singer, is also devastated to learn that a man he knew in his village has died of the virus.
“Practice safe sex” is the theme of the film, and is emphasized at every opportunity. But the director’s laid-back style enables him to coat his message with an attractive tale of an ambitious young man heading for the big time.
Location shooting is a major plus, as is the lively score composed by musician Lo, who’s a delight in the leading role. Pic will probably be packaged with other medium-length items from Red Hot for limited theatrical, then wider small-screen distribution.