Sansa review

:. Director: Siegfried
:. Starring: Roschdy Zem, Ivry Gitlis
:. Running Time: 1:56
:. Year: 2003
:. Country: France


In Sansa, artist/writer/director/producer Siegfried follows a street hustler/artist (Roschdy Zen) who makes his way from Paris to Russia using his street smarts. Sansa is charming and careless, living the bohemian life. His encounters are numerous, mostly with feminine characters, until he gets attached to an old and eccentric orchestra conductor who becomes a kind of father figure.

Siegfried's artistic inclination and talent are omnipresent in the film. Shot in grainy digital, guerrilla-style, his film is surprisingly aesthetic. The cinematography is gorgeous and the camera moves are fluid, ample and sophisticated, making Sansa a visually ambitious work. The electro-jazzy French touch soundtrack builds the ambiance around the images, enveloping the spectator in the atmosphere, and creating a hypnotic and modernistic film.

But if art is a work on the form and the shapes, visually or sonically, it has no purpose without solid content, whether as a vector of emotions or as a communication tool. While Siegfried's first work, Louise (Take 2), was criticized for its emptiness, once you pass Sansa's glorious envelope, you discover a fairly pathetic and revolting vision.

Sansa suffers from post-Amelie syndrome, as its depiction of the real world consists of a postcard-like fantasy world. Sansa's peregrinations start in Montmartre, then follow with a succession of international clichés. In Italy, we "learn" that women have dark hair and are beautiful while men are machos; we even to get to enjoy a Vespa chase. Russia is the land of chaos and organized crime where everybody gets drunk with vodka. Africa is corrupted, India is about people going naked in the river and Egypt has pyramids. My only surprise was not to see a karaoke scene during the Tokyo stop--maybe it stayed in the editing room. Meanwhile our hero Sansa, who is the victim of police abuse anywhere he goes, is unstoppable, seducing women around the world, like a backpacking James Bond, jumping from one train to another, escaping trouble, running into friends everywhere he goes, and walking, his hands in his pockets, through the great icy lands of Russia and the Moroccan desert.

Instead of taking advantage of the guerrilla filmmaking approach to give us a realistic look at the difficulty of street life around the world, we are left with nothing else than a subjective portrait, the myth of great international fraternity, and endless National Geographic like shots of people: kids, women, old men.

In the end, despite following him for thousands of miles around the world, Sansa didn't go anywhere.

  Fred Thom

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