For a film which engages with questions of fate and destiny, it’s probably a good sign when the film’s star learns by accident that the director has written it for him. Saul Williams had moved to Paris and was walking around when he ran into an acquaintance who gave him a bit of surprising news; his friend, the French-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis, had written a film for Williams to star in. This week, the luminous offspring of that encounter, the film TEY (TODAY) comes to Boston.
The film’s curious backstory, charismatic star, and poetic subject matter have been intriguing me all year as I’ve followed this film throughout its successful festival appearances and screenings around the globe. It is clear that TEY is unlike any other film in recent memory. Described as “gentle,” “meditative,” and “understated,” it is the story of Satché’s last day on earth for it has been decided that his time has come to die. Saul Williams, that magnetic presence known worldwide as an artist, musician, award-winning slam poet, and star of the 1998 film SLAM, stars as Satché, a man who has recently returned to Senegal after living in the United States. He meanders through his old city on his last day, visiting friends, family, and his former lover, and coming to terms with his fate.
TEY is released by BelleMoon Productions, a San Francisco-based company whose mission statement describes their dedication “to the development, production and distribution of untold stories through compelling narrative features, documentary films, and other hybrid formats, which cross cultural and linguistic barriers.” The film will play in selected cinemas around the U.S. from October 6th to November 6th, premiering and playing for a week at MIST Harlem in conjunction with their excellent Creatively Speaking Film Series.
Among the many accolades TEY has received on its journey are the Seattle International’s Emerging Masters Award for best director, Del Primio Citta Venezia Award at the Venice Film Festival, and the Golden Stallion at FESPACO for best film and best actor – the first film from Senegal and the first American actor to win these awards.
Screening and discussion with director Alain Gomis
Bright Lights Film Series at Emerson College
Tuesday, October 8 at 7:00 PM
Bright Family Screening Room
559 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02145