Little Light

Petite Lumière

Alain Gomis, France, Senegal, 2003


Fatima lives in Dakar, but inhabits an imagination that is far stronger than the reality that surrounds her. 

In this sequence it was less about the director filming a real game, than filming Fatima’s subjective escape into imagination.

The sequence starts and finishes with two shots from reality – the rain falling on the street where the little girl lives. We enter in to the world of fantasy by way of an extreme close up which allows us to leave the real world behind. We see her tracing parallel lines with two fingers on different materials, the skin of her forearm, the willow of a basket, and along the plaster on a wall, whose whiteness will lead into her imagination towards the snow. The sound of wind, which is placed high in the mix, allows the break from the reality of Africa, bringing to mind the sound of wind whistling past your ears as you speed down a ski-run.  We then come back to Fatima, making her way up a pile of sand at a construction site, as if painfully climbing small mounds of snow. 

Following this she mimes the journey of a cross country skier, as in reality she walks along a rubbish laden street. Finally, the filmmaker brings things back together with a shot which is half real (the African setting) and half imagined (she seems to be sliding along effortlessly on a ski slope). The slope of the piste is suggested by the camera being tilted at an angle, tilting the horizontal axis of the shot.  We then come back to the picture book which triggered this flight of fantasy – all of this was perhaps an imaginary trip suggested by the illustrations of a snowy landscape.