La Petite Vendeuse De Soleil (The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun) at South London Gallery
In true African style, the audience were welcomed with a plate of plantain and rice, and the 7pm viewing was pushed back as people casually strolled in.
Apt for the current time, the evening kicked off with some short film clips showing members of the Paralympic team. The most striking aspect was the excitement and courage of the athletes, as they spoke and trained despite their adversities.
The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun is a moving but uplifting film directed by Djibril Diop Mambety and shows the life of a disabled young girl from Dakar, desperate to earn money for her family. She drags herself around on crutches, travelling to pick up a handful of “the sun,” and suffering at the hands of newspaper competitors and bullies as she tries to gain small amounts of money for her huge efforts. It ties back to the audacity of the Paralympic athletes, and the challenges that they face not only with their disabilities, but with the third world that they have grown up in. It is a film acted by non-professional actors; this is a touching celebration of bravery and courage, rather than a portrayal of misfortune. It is also a celebration of life in Dakar, amidst the colours, vibrancy, fruit stalls and music, despite the hardships and poverty that encircled the production.
It was touching to see the young children spending all their money on playing a song to dance to, and a parasol for their blind grandmother, rather than the obvious essentials to get through everyday life.
The Right to Dream academy portrayed both the sufferings, but more importantly the vivacity and enthusiasm that disabled children and adults pursue their lives in a country that is financially unstable but emotionally rich.
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Watch the trailer here: