In a popular suburb of Dakar, workers on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without pay for months, decide to leave the country by the ocean for a better future. Among them is Souleiman, the lover of Ada, promised to another.
Atlantics is an internationally co-produced supernatural romantic drama film directed by Mati Diop, in her feature directorial debut. It was selected to compete for the Jade Jaguar for Best Direction and Best Cinematography at the Jade Jaguar Cinema Festival 2020. Diop made history when the film premiered at Cannes, becoming the first black woman to direct a film featured in competition at the festival.
The film is centered around a young woman, Ada, and her partner, Souleiman, struggling in the face of employment, class, migration, crime, family struggles, and ghosts. The Atlantic Ocean is used in many ways throughout the film, including as a symbol and engine for change, growth, life, and death; issues such as the refugee crisis, remorse, loss, grief, class struggle, and taking responsibility of one’s actions.
The cinematography is impressive, which confirms that Claire Mathon was the cinematographer of the year in 2019. She knows how to compose an image and it does benefit from its numerous empty spaces and transitions being filled by lovely imagery. Lots of shots of the sea, along with wind-swept curtains and open windows, mirrors and neon strobe lights. The eyes of the possessed women are admittedly haunting. And all of it is really connected when the things remain mysterious.