New Film: Lionel Steketee’s “Case Départ”

After reading the synopsis for Case Départ [Back to square one], I echo Tambay A. Obenson’s question in Shadow and Act, “Slavery as comedy?” and also wonder whether this film will ever be screened in the United States. Comedians Fabrice Eboué and Thomas Ngijol wrote the screenplay and star in Case Départ, directed by Lionel Steketee. The film will be released in France on July 6, 2011.

Synopsis: Half-brothers Joël and Régis only have in common the fact that they barely know their father. Joël is unemployed and not particularly clever. For him, France, “a racist country,” is the cause of all his failures and being black is his permanent excuse for not seeking work or even paying his bus ticket. On the other hand, Régis is fully assimilated . . . so much so, that he completely denies that he is half black and he cannot stand references to his origins. According to him, crime and immigration go hand in hand. Called to the bedside of their dying father in the Caribbean [no mention of a specific island], they receive as sole inheritance the manumission document that granted freedom to their slave ancestors, a document that has been handed down from generation to generation. Paying little attention to the symbolic wealth of this document, they tear it up.

A mysterious old aunt, who has been watching them since their arrival in the Caribbean, decides to punish them for their dismissive gesture and sends them back in time, to the midst of slavery. Dropped into 1780, they will be sold in the market as slaves. The two brothers must then join forces, not only to escape the plantation, but also to find a way to return home to the 21st century.

For full review (in French), see

For articles (in English) and trailers, see  and

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