In Le Grand Mariage, young, witty, French-Comorian reporter Badroudine Said Abdallah takes us on his first journey to the Comoros with his parents.
But this isn’t just any journey home. His parents are celebrating their marriage again.
In the Comoros, the often-forgotten African archipelago in the Indian Ocean, the ‘Grand Mariage’ is a lengthy and ostentatious celebration – up to nine days – that honours a couple.
There is an underlying estrangement that comes along with his dual identity.
In the film, Badroudine bonds with his family members yet discovers the distance which anyone with an African heritage born in the West can relate to. No journey home is simple when we live in the in-between; no return feels permanent. As he seeks to understand his own customs, through discussions with elders and his cousins, there is an underlying estrangement that comes along with his dual identity.
At the film’s epilogue, we become aware along with Badroudine that he too will need to go through this ritual when he is older. The immensity of this realisation is elegantly summarised in his last lines:
‘To think of my liberty is to seek to be denied by my own. To seek a different perspective is to betray all of the hopes that bestow upon me. It is unthinkable.’
Follow Badroudine Said Abdallah on Twitter @BadrouDean