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Griot, directed by Volker Goetze (Courtesy Vancouver International Film Festival)

Griot, directed by Volker Goetze

(Courtesy Vancouver International Film Festival)

VIFF 2012

VIFF movie review: Griot Add to ...

  • Directed by Volker Goetze
  • Genre documentary
  • Country Senegal / USA / France / Germany

The griot is a fixture of Senegalese life. Part family historian, part community diplomat, they record the past and present it in a mix of songs and words. This world-premiere documentary, from German trumpeter-cum-filmmaker Volker Goetze, explores the life of legendary Senegalese musician and community leader Ablaye Cissoko, a modern-day griot whose haunting voice is often accompanied by the jazz trumpet of Mr. Goetze. Mr. Cissoko talks, and sings, about his upbringing in a musical family – one of 21 children – as well as his life’s passion: finding a way to keep the young people of Senegal from fleeing the country and the central role of music in that endeavour (he wants to build a music school and culture centre in the port city of Saint-Louis). Visually and aurally, the documentary is stunningly beautiful, but the narrative is at times scattershot, mixing the political, historical and personal with no clear intent.

Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m. Granville 2; Sept. 30, 1:30 p.m. Vancity

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