SALUM is an ambitious project Jean Luc Herbulota film mixing the codes of the western and the horror film, with which the director hopes to create a whole new cinematographic genre specific to Africa, the southern.
Escape to the South
SALOUM tells the story of three mercenaries, Chaka, Rafa and Minuit, on the run following a big blow, who go into hiding in the Sine Saloum region. In this region full of mysteries they will keep a low profile in a holiday camp, but between the secrets that Chaka hides and a dark force that prowls, the holidays will not be easy…
The Sine Saloum is magnificent, we can start with that, the shots filmed from the sky lingering on the vegetation and the river of the region catch the eye, particularly when dusk appears. In terms of sound, the film is also very successful, the music composed by Reksider is dynamic and superbly accompanies the image. The sound is very important in the film, there is Awa, recently arrived in the holiday camp, who is deaf and mute and during a walk in the neighboring village, Minuit notices something strange with the ears of the inhabitants…
Mix of genres
The film uses a lot of classic codes of the different genres in which it is part, but it is the mixture of all these elements that precisely makes it possible to prevent the cliché. We find the cogs of the revenge film, with a little “twist” of the middle of the film, then the codes of the horror film with the classic “person who should not be killed” and the rules to follow to succeed in beating the fantasy element. The characters are not developed in depth but it is not necessary, the actors are excellent and manage to breathe into their characters an endearing personality.
The mixture has an effect and we quickly get caught up in the game with the explosive side of the western, the emotion of revenge and of course the legend evoked in the film, which moreover takes root in a real legend, that of the curse of King Gana Sina Bana.
The canoe of revenge
Despite a slight slowdown at the time of the arrival of the supernatural and an abuse of the “emotional” sequences, the energy returns for the finale. The film can also boast of having a successful ending, that is to say of ending badly, which is surprisingly too rare in many horror films. The last shots, like those that open the film, are magnificent and the camera lingers on the moving water of the long Saloum river and gives this element a supernatural force.
Cinema is a playground and Jean Luc Herbulot plays with codes to give originality to his film, his desire to create a new genre is to be welcomed, as he says: ” In my view, it is time for Africa to find a genre of its own, and as it seems that our maps place us in the south…” We hope that many directors will follow suit and that other southerners will see the light of day!
SALUM by Jean Luc Herbulot and produced by Paméla Diop, released in theaters on January 25 2023.
With: Yann Gael, Evelyne Ily Juhen, Roger Sallah, Mentor Ba, Bruno Henry, Renaud Farah, Ndiaga Mbow, Babacar Oualy, Marielle Salmier and Abdou Basse Dia.
Visual: Official poster of SALUM.