Arlit, The Second Paris

A visit to "Arlit, the Second Paris," a once vibrant African boom town in Niger, reveals the lost souls and endless social problems left in the wake of economic depression. Pic is both compelling and a test of the viewer's endurance. Film will do well at fests, particular those with a predisposition to African fare or docus.

This review was updated on March 3, 2005

A visit to “Arlit, the Second Paris,” a once vibrant African boom town in Niger, reveals the lost souls and endless social problems left in the wake of economic depression. Perfectly encapsulating the wonder of the desert as well as the ennui of emptiness, pic is both compelling and a test of the viewer’s endurance. Film will do well at fests, particularly those with a predisposition to African fare or docus.

With international mining companies bringing in considerable wealth (and extracting considerably more in the form of uranium), Arlit was a hub of African migration in the ’70s. Some are still drawn by the town’s legend, but Benin-born helmer Idrissou Mora-Kpai bears witness to the city’s death throes years after political rebellion and depleted mineral resources ended the party. Some interviewees pay awed tribute to a city they claim once resembled Paris; however, mud houses and abandoned mining equipment invite more realistic comparisons with a Yukon gold-rush town. This glimpse into the mining industry’s African leftovers contains some memorable imagery, though lensing has a tendency to appear washed out. Soundtrack will appeal to fans of world music.

Arlit, The Second Paris

Benin-France

Production: A Noble Films (Benin)/MKJ Films (France) production, with participation of CNC, Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst, Hubert Bals Fund. (International sales: MKJ Films, Paris.) Produced by Jeanette Jouli. Directed by Idrissou Mora-Kpai. Written by Mora-Kpai, Isabelle Boni-Claverie.

Crew: Camera (color), Jacques Besse; editor, Vera Memmi; music, Amadou Sariki Nomma, Group Ferdewess Arlit. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 12, 2005. Bariba, Haussa, Tamasheq, French dialogue. Running time: 80 MIN.

More Film

  • NANTUCKET, MA - JUNE 23: (L-R)

    How Long Will TV and Film's Boom Market for Female Stories Last?

    This review was updated on March 3, 2005 A visit to “Arlit, the Second Paris,” a once vibrant African boom town in Niger, reveals the lost souls and endless social problems left in the wake of economic depression. Perfectly encapsulating the wonder of the desert as well as the ennui of emptiness, pic is both […]

  • 'Ideal Home' Review: Steve Coogan, Paul

    Film Review: 'Ideal Home'

    This review was updated on March 3, 2005 A visit to “Arlit, the Second Paris,” a once vibrant African boom town in Niger, reveals the lost souls and endless social problems left in the wake of economic depression. Perfectly encapsulating the wonder of the desert as well as the ennui of emptiness, pic is both […]

  • 'Calibre' Review: A Terrific, Intensely Terrifying

    Edinburgh Film Review: 'Calibre'

    This review was updated on March 3, 2005 A visit to “Arlit, the Second Paris,” a once vibrant African boom town in Niger, reveals the lost souls and endless social problems left in the wake of economic depression. Perfectly encapsulating the wonder of the desert as well as the ennui of emptiness, pic is both […]

  • CHRIS PRATT stars as Owen in

    Box Office: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Gnaws on $144 Million Debut Weekend

    This review was updated on March 3, 2005 A visit to “Arlit, the Second Paris,” a once vibrant African boom town in Niger, reveals the lost souls and endless social problems left in the wake of economic depression. Perfectly encapsulating the wonder of the desert as well as the ennui of emptiness, pic is both […]

  • Leung Chiu-wai

    Tony Leung Breaks With Wong Kar-wai’s Jettone (Reports)

    This review was updated on March 3, 2005 A visit to “Arlit, the Second Paris,” a once vibrant African boom town in Niger, reveals the lost souls and endless social problems left in the wake of economic depression. Perfectly encapsulating the wonder of the desert as well as the ennui of emptiness, pic is both […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    ‘Jurassic World’ Holds off ‘Incredibles 2’ in China

    This review was updated on March 3, 2005 A visit to “Arlit, the Second Paris,” a once vibrant African boom town in Niger, reveals the lost souls and endless social problems left in the wake of economic depression. Perfectly encapsulating the wonder of the desert as well as the ennui of emptiness, pic is both […]

  • shanghai skyline China Placeholder

    Regulators Keep Chinese Film Industry in Suspense

    This review was updated on March 3, 2005 A visit to “Arlit, the Second Paris,” a once vibrant African boom town in Niger, reveals the lost souls and endless social problems left in the wake of economic depression. Perfectly encapsulating the wonder of the desert as well as the ennui of emptiness, pic is both […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content