Review: ‘US’

Moussa Toure brings mutually suspicious parties together in "Us."

Traditional nonfiction filmmakers may hew to the principle that you never, ever cajole your subject or intercede to change the course of events, but don’t tell that to Senegalese cineaste Moussa Toure, whose filming brings mutually suspicious parties together in “Us.” Disturbed to find that a sizable group of Mali immigrants living in a small Catalan town in isolation from the larger community, Toure exposes prejudice and builds bridges of communication in a genuinely handmade docu that many fests should find an attractive programmer.

“Us” takes some time to get going, as Toure’s initially unsure filmmaking cuts rather loosely between longtime residents and Malians living in San Feliu de Codines, 20 miles outside Barcelona. He finds each group is waiting for the other to make the first move toward contact. A typical line from the old-timer Catalans goes, “If they made an effort, we’d accept them.” Doc’s concluding section records a quiet victory of human understanding over bias, as a meeting organized by Toure feels like a genuine cultural and racial icebreaker.

US

Senegal - Spain

Production

A Les Films du Crocodile (Senegal)/Alkantara Producciones (Spain) presentation. Produced, directed, written by Moussa Toure.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Toure; editors, Madior, Thierry, Cheik Toure; music, Ramon Sole, Diakhate, Moya. Reviewed at AFI Film Festival, Los Angeles, Nov. 2, 2007. Running time: 79 MIN.

With

Mamady, Conxita Sans. (Catalan, Spanish, French dialogue)
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