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Slavery is funny?

Is it possible that levity can be found in a movie about slavery?

Can the plot remain true to history and yet juxtapose comedic situations alongside the painful history?

Even more importantly, can you draw African Americans, who according to recent "studies" are the greatest consumers of entertainment, to the theater to watch the movie?

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A movie that is going to be released in France in July attempts to do that. Case Départ tells the stories of two brothers, half brothers who have the same father. They hardly know him. One feels that France, the country in which they live, is ultimately racist and it makes him despondent and disillusioned. His brother harbors a lot of self hate, wishing to shed the heavy slave heritage. At their father's deathbed, they receive an ancient document that they mistakenly destroy and are sent back in time by an old mysterious woman, specifically to the height of the Trans-Atlantic slave period. As they work together to return to the present day they are caught in  a series of hilarious situations.

Case Départ Trailer:

The intentions of the movie makers Thomas Ngijol and Fabrice Eboué (who are also the stars of the movie) may not be evident and until we see the movie. At first they seem innocent enough, full of lessons to teach us valuable lessons about owning our heritage, understanding it and remembering that people smiled with each other some of the time, but we will have to wait and see.

Do you think that a movie about slavery can be funny? If it airs in the US (or wherever you are) do you think you will go to see it?

comment 6 comments:

Ray Thompson said...

I find it hard to imagine any part of the history of Slavery being funny. I would have to get more of the slave's perspective and see how they found a way to cope. I don't deny there is, at times, humor in misery but personally I just think that we have almost avoided really looking into what slavery meant to us African Americans. We were displaced and taken from our homes and then we were made to despise where we came from going as far as fighting the title of African American because we don't want to identify with our own ancestors. Europeans who have been here for 400 hundred years still claim their heritage with pride while African Americans who want to celebrate theirs have been relegated to celebrating Kwanzaa and wearing colorful clothes that seem too ethnic for us to identify with.

I know I went off on a tangent but I guess it falls under the same category as not comfortable enough for me to watch a movie without overlooking what happened to my people before I was made to hate where I came from.

Kendra said...

@Ray I totally hear you. I mean I don't ever see the Jews allowing anyone to make fun of the holocaust. I personally would see the movie so I can give it a proper review but I would be guarded before I enter I watching. I like this article and your page. Part of my new mid-day reading ritual.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's funny at all. But since slavery is not being discussed in movies the way the Holocaust has several every year, maybe a comedy is the only outlet. The enslavement and genocide of blacks has to be forgotten quickly and dismissed. When all else fails, maybe laugh. I would never watch this crap.

Simply Me on 22 June 2011 at 11:47 said...

Maybe if our ancestors were not getting their limbs cut off or being hung from trees...

I fail to see the humor in anything that makes light of slavery.

Bernie on 22 June 2011 at 11:49 said...

I think we're all taking this a little too seriously. The movie doesn't make slave trade funny, it is the situations in which these two brothers find themselves.

Maybe we should be too quick to judge the movie before we watch it.

TricksR4Kidz on 22 June 2011 at 11:50 said...

Seriously?!! Wow.

I guess we do not have to fear this movie since it is in french and most of us do not understand french.

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