The Little Girl Who Sold The Sun And Le Franc

Senegalese master Djibril Diop Mambety made these two 45-minute films as parts of a triptych called Tales of Little People but died of cancer before he could make the third. They’re closer to neorealism and less intellectually complex and ambitious than his remarkable features Touki Bouki and Hyenas, but these stories about the urban poor are still pungent, buoyant, and often funny, with wonderful performances by nonprofessionals. Le franc (1994) follows the misadventures of an impoverished musician with a winning lottery ticket, and The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun (1999), described by Mambety as a hymn to the courage of street children, is a fable about a crippled 12-year-old who sells newspapers in Dakar despite her male competitors’ cruel efforts to discourage her. (The title is a pun on the newspaper she sells, Le soleil.) If you’re unfamiliar with Mambety, one of the greatest of all African filmmakers, these excellent featurettes may whet your appetite for his stunning features. (JR)

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