Le retour d'Afrique | Chicago Reader

Le retour d'Afrique

Charming and perceptive—not a bad combination for a film with a rather direct political position as its operative mechanism. Alain Tanner's witty 1973 study of what it really means to be disengaged, isolated, and unmindful of the third- world problems that can easily crop up in one's own backyard moves with the same narrative grace as La salamandre. Despite a tendency toward polemic near the end, this tale of two would-be Swiss emigrants to Africa (who “return” without ever having left) ably demonstrates the truth of the narrator's observation: “Words can be an act in themselves, or they can be a substitute for action.”

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