Ousmane Sembène

As I mentioned last week during September I watched a couple of amazing films by Senegalese writer/director Ousmane Sembène: Emitaï, Ceddo. I’ve also seen his Black Girl, a look black displacement & diasporia in France which I found predictable & so didn’t resonate with me. Emitaï, Ceddo were constantly surprising.

Both are set in Senegal & presented an Africa I was barely familiar with. I grew up with the Africa of Tarzan & countless white safari movies. The blacks were toters of luggage – often superstitious, cowardly and/or stupidly obedient. Also the men were usually stripped to the waist & given to wearing ceremonial tribal bones, feathers & the like when running through the jungle. Their lives were peripheral to story even when the story was about them.

Emitaï deals directly & mercilessly with French colonial attitudes & actions. When the villagers resist sending their sons to fight in WWII they are treated like children who don’t understand the right of the French to do what ever they want. When the village is also ordered to give all its rice to the war effort & refuses as it means they will starve they are treated like selfish children whose cultural values aren’t valid. 

The film shows their ordinary daily lives, their tribal religion & burial rituals as well as rice planting. All ordinary & all in direct relation to the land. They are more interested in maintaining their own dignity & families than they are in defending France against the Germans. I loved the scene where the native militia doesn’t understand how de Gaulle, a two-star general can over-rule Pétaina four-star general.

Ceddo deals with religious colonization with Islamic persecution of villagers who won’t convert. The class system, enforced as much by guns as history, is one that runs through many cultures. The disregard of other belief systems as illogical superstition is still one of the middle east’s bones of contention. The Christians aren’t much better mind you.

I was quickly drawn into each film & appreciated this ‘insider’s’ look at colonialism – cultural & religious – that wasn’t balanced by the need to appease either the French or the Islami. Both films are in native languages & maintained the rhythms of their everyday speech. The performances were excellent & I loved the music in Ceddo by Manu Dibango (Soul Makossa). I found the Ceddo soundtrack on iTunes 🙂

If you want to step out the confines of the usual film story-telling these are two films worth tracking down.

The Trade-Off

what I want

what it’ll cost

is that the price I’m willing to pay

is the sacrifice 

going to be worth the result

 

it is so unfair

why can’t I set the price

is that too much to ask

I’m willing to compromise

but when is enough enough

when can I say no

to what want to say yes to

when I think I’m losing 

more of myself 

to gain something I think I want

 

if my price was unreasonable

I’d understand

but they’re not reasonable

with their barriers of cost control

 

you can have this steak 

but you have to eat it with a spoon 

I suppose that’s possible

how can I say yes 

and no 

at the same time

say yes

I want what you offer

but not the conditions you offer it with

 

don’t forget

the cost of keeping it

will be greater

than the cost of giving it to me

who doesn’t want it

anymore

even for free

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Epiphany at Lake Pinebow

This is the Feast of Epiphany – the day when the Magi dropped off their gifts – that twelfth day with all the drummers drumming – or something like that. Luckily, although I don’t ever get those drummers, I do get many small realizations, discoveries, that bring change or new pleasures into my life. 2013 had many of those.

So welcome to Music Monday in which I’ll rattle on about ond & new music I like. Classical jazz pop electronica blues. So what if there are thousands of music blog sout there already.

knit02well wrapped in the east end

I found out that I still do like disposable bouncy pop music by bands you never hear from again – who remembers Wheatus (Teenage Dirt Bag) or Metro Station (Shake It) – this year it’s Capital Cities with their fun retro-sound. They do a version of Holiday that great. Lady Gaga sounds stale in comparison.

knit01well wrapped on the Danforth

I’ve picked up new or old music from many sources. Reading Pete Townsend’s bio set me on a hunt, as did a couple of terrific documentaries. The Secret Disco Revolution (which supports my theory that disco was more transgressive & revolutionary than punk or even 60’s protest music) led me to Manu Dibango – Soul Makosso. And a great book Hot Stuff: Disco & the Remaking of American Culture by Alice Echols which in turn led me to more music: Honey Cone anyone (when I lost you I found myself).

knit03well unwrapped on the Danforth

Another documentary was Jingle Bell Rocks! A Christmas music fanatic searches for rare recordings & interviews the performers, if still alive. I had to have Christmas in Vietnam (on the Rojek Story collection); also Jessie Mae Hemphill – a great Mississippi blues performer. Clarence Carter’s Back Door Santa – who could ask for more.

So my music went from modern and way way back. Thanks to those who gave me iTunes cards, they sure came in handy. Musical epiphany – the best kind.

 

 

Lake Pinebow 2

has anyone seen Brad?

he was here last night

remember how he screamed

when we told tales

around the campfire

last night

has anyone seen Brad

he shouted with fear and delight

said he wouldn’t be able to sleep without a light

has anyone seen him

I saw him go down to the lake

he took a canoe

rowed into the mist

now Jeff are you sure that’s what you saw

because all the canoes are there now

not one is missing’s

has anyone seen Brad

he has a talent for hiding

that’s for sure

he went missing last week

for two whole days

till we found him then

sleeping in the crook of an oak tree

as tidy and warm

as could be

up so high in the whispering happy tree

out near Pine Point

perhaps we should look

for him there

he could be pulling another of his stunts

just to teach us a lesson

to make sure we don’t scare with such tales

as you told last night

I saw him go to the smoke shed

he wanted a sausage 

he felt so hungry and weak

he needed a snack before he went to bed

now Olaf that can’t be so

we don’t use the smoke shed

for the summer

that’s for the fall

as you well know

or in the spring

when we run the maple syrup off

perhaps he’s gone there

looking for what is left 

there’s always some dribs and drabs

of that sweet sugar to be found

if you look hard enough

if you scrape under the ground

you don’t say

that’s news to the counsellors and I

so lets go to the smoke shed

perhaps we’ll find what

we need to find there

as they approached

they saw a strange trail

footprints

small and dainty

with a smudge mark deep and long

between them

like a long sharp tail

or  a long sharp tooth

we can’t go in there

the boys shouted as one

we can’t go in there

the Denizen is there

that’s what’s happened to Brad

the Denizen has gotten him

eaten him up

smoked with maple syrup

we know

we can tell

you warned us about the foot prints

and the smell of death is in the air

they stood silent

in a circle around the smoke shed

none willing to to take  step forward

the door swung a little in the breeze

they all jumped back

a bell rang

six rapid clangs

ah there breakfast ready boys

we’ll leave this till later

Brad is bound to show up

he’s hoping to give us

another merry chase

another merry chase

which we won’t give into

as a whole

they rushed to the mess hall

hot steaming plates of food were ready

rice crispy squares

scrambled eggs

crisp bacon

pan cakes

French toast

home made sausages

corn flakes

poached eggs

Belgian waffles

fresh milk

yellow butter

and ladles

of maple syrup

syrup to wash everything down

to make the boys

fat and pump and round

as plump and fat and round as Brad

100_0229before coffee