BUFS Preview: Samba

This week, BUFS is pleased to present Samba starring Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Tahar Rahim. Directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano.

From the Directors of the Intouchables, Samba is a comi-drama that follows the lives of an illegal immigrant from Senegal living and working in Paris and an unstable burnt out executive, who through a series of events, meet and instantly share a rich connection.

The film opens with a look at a posh restaurant full of very well-off people. From there, the camera slowly makes its way behind the scenes of the restaurant into the kitchen where it lingers on the dishwasher, Samba (Oymar Sy). Samba immigrated to Paris, ten years earlier to work and send money back to his ill mother in Senegal. His intention was to remain in Paris, however, through a series of attempts, stalls and mail mix-ups he is unable to obtain his official residency. Later Samba has a run-in with an immigration officer and is sent to a detention centre and subsequently ordered to leave France.


His only hope to remain in Paris rests on Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg), an executive on sick leave who in her capacity as a volunteer caseworker helps immigrants to Paris apply for visas and jobs. Immediately there is a connection between Samba and Alice as they bond over her chaotic purse and cereal bars. Alice ignores her colleague’s warnings to remain impersonal with her clients and follows her instinct and she begins to fall for Samba. Throughout the film each inspires the other to re-invent their lives and follow their dreams.

The directors of Samba do an excellent job engaging the audience in a very relevant social issue in a way that is full of subtle humor and many emotional layers. The characters in Samba give the film a natural flow as you lay witness to the struggles Samba faces as an immigrant. Alice’s instability immediately becomes tangible and something the audience can resonate with. Sambas charisma captivates you as you learn about him through his interactions with his friends, co-workers and Alice. Together the pair deliver a powerful message in a light-hearted way. The film is about love, family, adversity and friendship. It’s success in delivering all these messages at once is owed to its star cast who captivate the audience through their sincerity. Samba is a rich and engaging film for all audiences.

Samba screens Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Landmark Theatres, Pen Centre. Visit brocku.ca/bufs for details.

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