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OPTIONAL: The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun

What storytelling moves does this film make that you might use in writing a story?

  • For instance: Consider the opening scene. A woman is arrested in the marketplace. The market people surround her, watch her humiliation, but do nothing to assist her. Might there be a parallel between the market people as spectators, and us--movie viewers (readers)--as spectators?
  • Why does Mambety create this film in an almost "fairy tale" style? What effects does it have on you as a viewer? What are the modern possibilities of using a "fairy tale" style, which ends (very differently from "Douloti") in a manner that is almost happily ever after?
  • What other storytelling moves did you notice? Which could and couldn't be used in text?


The opening scene seems to mirror what he ''First'' World does whenever something in the Second or Third World is clearly an outrage, an unfairness, or a tragedy that does not directly affect our GDP. It's easy to feel sympathy for the wrongly-accused woman, but we the viewers are no likely to get out of our seats to help the fictional character than we are to get out of our comfort zones to help real sufferers.

The ''fairy tale'' styling of the story ties in nicely with the focus on the young people in the movie. It is only a sense of confidence in an eventual happy ending that could propel youth in Dakar to keep moving and rise as a new generation—a generation of change.

One storytelling method I liked was how the relationship and discussions between the little girl and her ''guardian'' had major overtones for political change. When they're arguing about the newspapers they sell, the guardian says he sells the Sud because it's the people's paper and the little girl says she sells the Soleil (the government's paper) because it keeps the government closer to the people. Her insistence asserts that change in Senegal will have to start at the bottom with the little people (both financially and age-wise). After all, the fable says the youngest are the wisest!

i thought that the message was a little different, in the conversation about newspapers--that the girl is selling papers for a gov. that isn't supportive, but she is hopeful it will in future. the common political ideas say that change can only come from "the bottom, but she has proof in her paper (if she could read) that there are people in government that are trying to change things. she succeeds, metaphorically by refusing to let her impossible situation stop her from being a part of the 'mainstream', the government's identity is part of her and she can't ignore it, or let everyone else ignore it.

the fairytale style telling helped accentuate the fact that the people involved were fighting common struggles but the obstacles they have are uncommon--bad knees, being in wheelchairs, having the adults be just as helpless to stop the violence and poverty as the children are. the physical situation is overwhelming, which is seen in other working-class movies like "beijing bicycle", and bicycle thieves" where the mode of transportation is literally the difference between being able and unable to work. here, the struggle to walk is equated with the ability to be human, and she proves that even without this ability, she is still human and hopeful.

Mambety uses this "fairy tale" style because the story presents some extraordinary events, just without the fantasy. The events are extraordinary because of the obstacles Sili faces in her life and the ways in which she overcomes them. You see a person like Sili taking over with such confidence about as often as you see a Prince waking his Sleeping Beauty with a kiss. That's not to say it never happens, because it does, but not often enough. Mambety uses that "fairy tale" air because the story itself is so exceptional.

Unfortunately, this "fairy tale" quality of the film makes it less believable to me. I was happy with Sili's successes, but I just think the events were so unlikely that I would need to see them to believe them, like a Prince waking his Sleeping Beauty with a kiss. However, the movie also brought me a sense of hope in Sili's character, which was very pleasing. Even if the idea of a real-life Sili seems a bit of a stretch to me, the fact that the idea even exists is still a bit comforting.

I saw that as very similar to what happens in movie theaters- in our classroom even. This film is obviously aged, but who in the class, including myself, stood up in astonishment of the conditions these people live in or left after feeling weighted by the depressed images they had just seen. We saw it only as a story about people but not as an extended representation of their culture or those people’s lives, allowing ourselves to be just another group of passive bystanders.

Also, in actuality, it may be rare to find a young girl so brave or bold, and people so reactive to her stance on things. I believe that many of those people she encountered may have been much harsher towards her in reality. The effect of her boldness and her stoic confrontation of so many people mad the movie, however, because of the demonstrated response by people such as the rich man who well overpaid her or the police officer who let her go, and also granted her request to free the women in the prison yard. Allowing these unlikely events to go on in what we saw, possibly unknowingly, as a fairy world gave the film its impact.

I think there’s most definitely a correlation between us as viewers and the market people that were watching the arrest. We always watch these movies, or clips on the news and either feel like its not our problem or business to help them, or we feel like we should do something, until the feeling passes (in like 5 minutes). I myself have done this, more so with adults than with children. I feel that adults are more equipped to help themselves, and even if they’re not, I see absolutely NO reason that a child should suffer.
I felt that Sili was an incredibly strong child. To have this physical disability, but not to let that dampen her Spirit, that was really powerful to me. For me, the movie did not end happily ever after. I got more of a sense of “Wow. How can I make it so that there are less children in that situation??

I agree with what most people say about the correlation between the marketplace spectators and us watching the movie. Their inactivity is meant to mirror the audiences. I figured the entire movie was going to be outrage and tragedy to move people to action.

I think the fairy tale ending works simply as a means to show that things can be done to help. I don't think it is entirely happy. I think the point is more that, if these children are working to make things better, then just think of what you could do. I think also the fairy tale quality creates an air of innocence around the children. I think it is hard for a person to watch and not want to help the main character.

By setting the crowd off from the "crazy" woman the director definitely parallels us as moviegoers. He also might be given us cues on how to view this movie. I.E. from a neutral and far place. Maybe by doing this he allows himself to take on the fairy tales motif, and we as viewers are more likely to accept it.

It really takes a lot of confidence to make a change. You need to be different from what was set by the society and set your own.

Also, you need to use more of your communication skills in order to deal with other people despite your differences. If you want change, then, you have to communicate it effectively to others for them to understand and for you to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.