The Pirogue

In this 2013 drama, 30 men and a lone female stowaway, ditching their destitute lives in West Africa, embark on a perilous ocean journey from Senegal to Spain. Director Moussa Touré depicts the travelers broadly yet vividly, the sense of danger and adventure seemsingly derived from Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat (1944). But the sociocultural aspects hew closer to the work of the influential Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, whose embattled worldview is evident in the protagonist’s conflicted desire to set sail for greener pastures and his almost perverse sense of obligation to a town and a life that have nothing to offer him. Dry humor alleviates the feeling of helplessness, whereas the actors, most of them amateurs, authenticate the story’s real-world implications. In French, Wolof, and Spanish with subtitles.