French film makes slavery a laughing matter

TheGRIO REPORT: Two brothers have to escape the plantation and get back to present day...

A French movie Case Départ, loosely translated into “Going Back,” is set to be released this year on July 6, and it may stir up some conflict. The two main characters in the movie are two half brothers, Joel and Régis, and they embody what some may consider racially insensitive behavior.

Joel has darker skin, and sees his life in France as disadvantaged because of his complexion — he is unemployed and blames the government. Régis has fairer skin and has had a different experience living in France — he has a comfortable life and he doesn’t have any racial insecurities.

They get sent back in time for destroying a document that has been passed down through their father’s Cameroonian side of the family for generations.


Case Départ (2011) Trailer by Afro-Style-Communication

An old lady they meet warns them not to destroy the document, but they do anyway. As a punishment they are sent back to the Translatlantic slavery period. There, they live as slaves and struggle to adhere to the rules assigned to them by their master who refers to them as “Negroes.” They realize how they have taken their modern day life for granted, and want to get back home.

The movie begins when the brothers have to escape the plantation and hustle their way back to present day. Thomas Ngijol and Fabrice Eboué wrote the screenplay and act as the brothers; Lionel Steketee directed the film.

In the past, other countries have created media that hasn’t gone over well with Americans. Last year, an Australia commercial drew angry criticism for depicting a white man calming down people of African descent with fried chicken.

And then, there was the “Darlie” Chinese toothpaste that was made by a Hong-Kong based company, Hawley & Hazel, which was commonly known as “black people toothpaste.”

Case Départ may not be well received in the United States, and we will have to wait until July to find out how well it does in Europe.

Additional reporting by Aiche Sissoko.