Synopsis by Mark Deming
A man goes on a pilgrimage in search of his heritage -- only this time it's an African coming to America in this offbeat drama. Alloune (Sotigui Kouyate) is an elderly man who works at a museum in his native Senegal that is devoted to documenting the history of the slave trade in Africa. Many people come to the museum hoping to learn about their past, and Alloune is equally curious about his own heritage, and his research into his family tree suggests that he had several relatives who were kidnapped and sold to slave traders working out of South Carolina. Alloune decides to visit America to learn more about his kin, and he uncovers documents suggesting his relatives were renamed Robinson by their masters in the U.S. Alloune's research dictates a trip to New York City, so he pays a visit to Hassan (Karim Koussein Traore), a nephew who lives in Harlem and drives a cab. Hassan and his girlfriend Biram (Adja Diarra) let Alloune stay with them in their tiny flat, and while in the neighborhood, Alloune makes the acquaintance of Ida Robinson (Sharon Hope), a sharp-tongued woman who owns a corner store. Alloune believes Ida may be one of his relatives, but he isn't certain, and while he tries to find out for certain, he convinces her to give him a job -- never explaining that he thinks their family trees may be linked. Little Senegal was shown in competition at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival.
cab-driver, family-history, heritage, museum, nephew, pilgrimage, Senegal, slavery