Run time: 120mins
Director: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Cast: Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tahar Rahim
Synopsis: Migrant Samba Cissé travelled from his native Senegal to France ten years ago. He slogged away as a dish washer in a hotel and is about to get a catering qualification. When he discovers there is something wrong with his paperwork he finds himself being transported to a detention centre where he will remain until he can provide the required documents. When immigration officer Alice takes an interest in Samba’s case, the two find themselves fighting together to keep him in the country.
Directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano – who made Intouchables (2011), one of France’s most popular films ever – team up again with the charismatic actor Omar Sy to bring us this highly topical tale based on the successful novel Samba pour la France by Delphine Coulin, who co-scripted the film.
Omar Sy plays the eponymous Samba, who is detected without official papers after a random police check and sent to a detention centre. Samba has been living on his wits for the previous ten years in Paris, sending money home to his mother in Senegal, and hoping to gain a catering qualification.
In the detention centre he meets volunteer Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) a former executive on sabbatical because she is suffering from burnout. She joins him in his fight to stay in France.
This is a witty, unsentimental, romantic comedy which paints what feels like an authentic picture of life for illegal immigrants in France as they scrabble for risky, poorly paid work. Samba meets and has various scrapes with another immigrant Wilson (Tahar Rahim – playing a comic role for a change) during his attempts to avoid deportation.
Once again good ensemble acting and a wonderful score from Ludovico Einaudi (who also did the soundtrack for Intouchables) make this a memorable film.
Images courtesy of Koch Media