Matt Campbell, who was named interim artistic director of the Denver Film Festival after the death of his predecessor, Brit Withey, earlier this year, is our guide to the cinematic event's 42nd edition, which continues through November 10. Campbell has chosen a must-see film for each day of the fest. Keep reading to get his take on his selection for November 6: Atlantics.
Directed by Mati Diop
Wednesday, November 6, 6:45 p.m.,
Sunday, November 10, 6:30 p.m.
At the most recent Cannes Film Festival, Atlantics scored a first that should have happened a long time ago. According to Campbell, "The director, Mati Diop, was the first black female filmmaker to be in competition for the Palme d'Or. She's from Senegal, and her uncle [Djibril Diop Mambéty] is a well-known Senegalese director as well. And her film is incredible. It really blew me away."
Here's the trailer for Atlantics:
Campbell calls the film "a bit of a love story, but there are supernatural elements, as well. The young female lead [played by Mame Bineta Sane] has a boyfriend, but her father wants her to go through with an arranged marriage to a rich older man."
Meanwhile, the young woman's out-of-work boyfriend "decides to try to find work in Europe, and he goes in one of those small, rickety boats that people use to traverse the Mediterranean. The boat capsizes, and all the people on board perish at sea. But then they come back to the town as these spirits — jinn in the Muslim tradition. They're not at peace, and they need a resolution."
The spirits aren't portrayed in a stereotypical visual manner. "They have otherworldly eyes," Campbell points out, "but otherwise, they look just like people. It's very subtly done, and really beautifully shot. The cinematography will really grab you, but so will the whole film. It's excellent."
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