Wagon Wheels on a Gravel Road: Traveling Through West African Films from Sembene's Wagon Driver to Touré's TVG and Beyond

by Assistant Professor of French Carina Yervasi "The research presented in this paper focuses on literal and figurative representations of movement and displacement in Francophone West African film," Yervasi says, "and shows how cinematic stories of displacement embody the problems of contemporary postcolonial relations: the problems of neocolonial economic policies, cultural alienation, and the attendant issues of constituting nationhood in opposition to their colonial past. The films, Ousmane Sembene's Borom Sarret [The Wagoner] (Senegal, 1964), Djibril Diop Mambety's La petite vendeuse de Soleil [The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun] (Senegal, 1999), Moussa Touré's, TGV (Senegal, 1997), and Mweze Ngangura's Pièces d'identités [ID] (Democratic Republic of Congo, 1998) reflect three dominant thematic patterns from the mid-1960s to the present: local travel from village or suburb to the city; movement between African nations; and travel out of Africa, in other words, patterns of escalating proportion: migration, displacement, and diaspora."