TIFF 2013: Under the Starry Sky Review

Under the Starry Sky

Under the Starry Sky

Contemporary World Cinema

Director: Dyana Gaye

The lives of several Senegalese ex-pats and travellers around the world are brought together in this compact, but very enriching drama in Gaye’s feature debut. It accomplishes more in 88 minutes that many more celebrated filmmakers have trouble accomplishing in more than two hours.

Sophie (Mareme Demba Ly) has left Senegal to find her husband (Souleymane Seye N’Diaye) in Paris, only to find out that he was not only cheating on her, but that he left to go to Italy. He’s actually no longer in Italy, but living on the streets of New York City trying to earn money for a better life. Sophie, disenchanted by her travels, decides to stay in Italy with a kindly host and Ukranian friend. Meanwhile, Sophie’s aunt and the person who her husband was originally gone to live with has taken her teenage son Thierno (Ralph Amoussou) home to Dakar to bury her husband.

A contemplative and organic feeling look at coping with various forms of loss, moving on, and the capacity for new beginnings in life, Gaye bounces around between the three protagonists with a considerable amount of dexterity, wit, and warmth. The ending might not bring everything together perfectly, but it certainly contains believable characters in realistic situations, and that’s hard to convey with this ambitious of a concept. Gaye pulls it off nicely, though.


Monday, September 9th, 4:45pm, Isabel Bader Theatre


Wednesday, September 11th, 11:15am, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4, 11:15am

Sunday, September 15th, Scotiabank 14, 8:45pm