Atlantics won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and recently came to Netflix, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m really glad I did, because it is the most beautiful film I have seen all year. It’s Mati Diop’s debut film as a director and she’s got a special kind of perspective. She’s the first black woman to direct a film that has competed at Cannes. She made history and in fine fashion.
Mama Sane (what a name) plays a young girl from Senegal named Ada. She’s in love with this young man who works construction named Souleiman. He isn’t getting paid properly, so he leaves the country in hopes of better work. Meanwhile, we find out that Ada has an arranged marriage coming up with this rich dude named Omar who just isn’t a very nice person. Ada is forced to choose between pure love with Souleiman or an easy life financially with Omar.
I was blown away by the cinematography. Claire Mathon worked on this and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which both came out this year. Portrait of a Lady on Fire has a wide release set for February and I can’t wait to check it out. The shots on the coast of Senegal in Atlantics are jaw dropping. Everything has a pulse in the most calming way. The people in this film are beautiful and some of the emotions that are brought up make you want to hug somebody. Mama Sane is an actress to be on the lookout for. She carries Atlantics with an elegance and innocence that I don’t see enough in films. Nicole Sougou also stood out to me as Ada’s friend, Dior. She’s a timeless character that delivered every time she popped up on the screen. The characters haven’t really left my mind since the credits started rolling, which reminds me about the music. Fatima Al Qadiri constructed some intoxicating sounds and it’s the first time she’s ever worked on a film! Atlantics is filled with debuts that rocked my world. It was the Senegalese entry for the Best International Film at the upcoming Oscars and I totally understand why.