Looking for Andalucia
by Natasha Senjanovic
- Alain Gomis' film follows the dynamic but awkward Yacine in his search for an identity in a world in which he does not fit in
Once the first wave of applause had died down, a second one broke out spontaneously when director Alain Gomis (L’Afrance, 2001) returned to the Palalido for the Q&A following the official screening of his film Andalucia [+see also:
This rather stream of consciousness film follows the dynamic but awkward Yacine (Samir Guesmi) in his search for an identity in a world in which he does not fit in, through numerous jobs, conversations about Pelé with his friends Moussa, Djibril and Vincent and daydreams about the women who pass through his life.
Gomis said he did not want to limit himself to a structured story when conceiving the film: “I wanted to communicate to the audience through sensations instead. I began with the sensation that our body is sometimes too heavy for us. This character is almost a prisoner of his body, but he knows there exists something beyond that.”
That “something beyond” is perhaps where Yacine’s identity lies, but not only does he feel entrapped by his own body, the fact that he is obviously of Arab descent makes him an outsider in a country struggling with racism.
Born in France to a French mother and Senegalese father, Gomis added: “Growing up in a country that doesn’t consider you a part of that country is violence. I wanted to shout out against this in some way. I think the will to exist and recognize each other supports identity. This often exists in the peripheries, among minorities. The will to touch others gives us our identity.”
The director further admits that the film would have been impossible without Guesmi, who perfectly embodies a character that defies facile characterization. Despite the lack of a structured narrative and the actor said playing Yacine “was actually very concrete work for me, and very simple. I always found myself in defined situations that were already constructed.”
Actress Delphine Zingg added: “Working with Alain and Samir was very unique. We worked on everything that comes beyond words, on our movements, searching for the cinematic matter in the scenes on a physical and psychological level.”
The film was produced by Paris-based companies Mille et Une Productions and Colifilms, the latter of which is handling international sales.