So Be It

Director: Joseph Gai Ramaka
Country: Senegal
Year: 1997
Running Time: 26 min
Language: French and Wolof with English subtitles

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Michael, an idealistic foreign doctor, has had little success bringing the promises of modernity to a dusty village of the damned in the Sahel. His lover, Sunma, a teacher and native of the place, has no illusions about the village, believing it to be “a world which will cannibalize its children” (according to a Wolof incantation) in a futile effort to compensate for human powerlessness. She simply wants to live and love – and leave before the killing starts. But Michael is transfixed; he stays and tries, ineffectively, to prevent the villagers from sacrificing a mentally disturbed mute boy he has befriended. Perhaps Michael sees in himself, even in his hope for scientific progress, a reflection of the villagers’ own horror at human fate.