Tuesday, June 03, 2014
"Little Lion": French film depicts a teenager from Africa trying to get into pro soccer in Europe
Angelika Film Center in Merrifield has been putting together its own festival of French films, and this evening it showed “Little Lion” (or “Like a Lion” or “comme un lion”), by Samuel Collardey.
In Senegal, Mitri (Mytri Atal) aspires to become a pro soccer player (called football in Europe). An unscrupulous businessman convinces his grandmother to go into debt and sell her orchard, when she had counted on a tontine for her family’s financial security. (Thomas B. Costain authored a novel by that name, “The Tontine”, which I recall from high school, as well as “The Moneyman”.)
In France, Mitri finds he is not allowed to even try out since he is only 16, so he has been scammed. But French law doesn’t provide for deportation, and the welfare system takes care of him, and tries to teach him skills, like becoming a waiter. In the meantime, he has to put off telephone pleas to send his grandmother money, until she dies.
But Mitri finds a grizzled school soccer coach, and gradually manipulates his way into having a real chance with the pros.
The early scenes of life in Senegal are interesting.
The film has distribution in Europe from Pyramide.
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of a market in Senegal