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YAO

by Philippe Godeau

2019 | 103 min

Dramedy, family | France, Senegal | French (English subtitles) | 12 years of age and older 

Cast: Lionel Louis Basse, Omar Sy, Fatoumata Diawara, Germaine Acogny. Alibeta Gourvennec, Gwendoly Gourvennec, Diouc Koma

From his village in northern Senegal, Yao is a 13-year-old boy ready to do anything to meet his hero: Seydou Tall, a famous French actor. Invited to Dakar to promote his new book, the latter goes to his country of origin for the first time. To fulfill his dream, the young Yao organizes his fugue and brave 387 kilometers alone to the capital. Touched by this child, the actor decides to flee his obligations and to accompany him home. But on the dusty and uncertain roads of Senegal, Seydou understands that while rolling towards the village of the child, it also rolls towards its roots.

FESTIVALS:  

  • Haugesund International Film Festival (Norway, 2019)

  • Moscow International Film Festival (Russia, 2019)

  • Rendez-vous with French Cinema in Paris (2019)

  • Festival de la Biolle Cinéma et ruralité (France, 2020)

PRESS:  

With the towering presence of Omar Sy (remember the irascible care-giver in Intouchables?) Philippe Godeau’s sunny and feel good adventure yarn has a lot going for it in terms of charm, father and son relationships, family roots and breathtaking scenery (…) 

Sy’s magnetism and the chemistry between him and Basse hold the attention while the cinematography allows the viewer to wallow in the stunning and unfamiliar locales.

— Eye for Film 

 

An inter-generational, cross-cultural road movie in which Tall contends with the heat, Yao’s relentless curiosity, various culture shocks and his own sense of disconnect. (…)

Just a feel-good, at times bitter-sweet love letter from the perspective of the ‘lost’ children of the diaspora, tentatively forging links with their ancestral home.

— I Was Just Thinking 

 

Philippe Godeau executes this film in a perfect manner, demonstrating, beyond his well-established skills as a producer, his talent as a director with his third feature film.

— Cineuropa (translated from French)

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Last updated:  January 16, 2021

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