Unfortunately, Westley Piddle doesn’t have a cinema, cineplex, or multiplex…only a Muttplex. But it’s showing some great movies…

🐾🐾🐾🐾= as good as it gets on the subject.  Drop everything, , sniff out, scramble to catch up and ‘watch NOWS’!

🐾🐾🐾= entertaining or informative.  Worth putting on your short-watch list.

🐾🐾= Average entertainment, will pass casual viewing time but does not exceed expectations – even modest ones. Ultimately forgettable.

🐾= Seriously! There are many far better movies out there on this subject. Don’t bother unless it’s a rainy afternoon with absolutely nothing better to do.

This week I thought it was a good opportunity to review some little-known directors (unless you are a total filmaholic) who have made films which should be on your must-see list.

Birds of Passage (2018) directed by Ciro Guerra

(image courtesy IMDb) 🐾🐾🐾🐾

During the marijuana bonanza, a violent decade that saw the origins of drug trafficking in Colombia, Rapayet and his indigenous Wayuu [tribe] family get involved in a war to control the business that ends up destroying their lives and their culture. (courtesy IMDb)

My take: Ciro Guerra has always been a favorite director of mine, having already previewed his other recent films on Views from Westley Piddle: Waiting for the Barbarians 2020, and Embrace of the Serpent 2015.  Born and raised in Río de Oro, Cesar, Colombia, he brings to the screen an intimate portray of his country’s fall from grace into the world of drug cartels.  However, unlike other recent dramatizations of this ongoing tragedy (most obviously Narcos on Netflix)  Caro talks the language and experience of his own people, not the sexed-up and glamorous fiction of American-produced soap operas.  And it is a tragic experience indeed.  In keeping with his other works, Birds of Passage is imbued with the myths and legends of the indigenous peoples of the forest tribes and nomadic desert peoples of Columbia.  For a totally different insight into the infamous rise of the drug lords this is a masterpiece not to be missed.

Timbuktu –  directed by Abderrahmane Sissako (2014)

Timbuktu (2014) - IMDb

(image courtesy IMDb) 🐾🐾🐾🐾

Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, proud cattle herder Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima and young daughter Toya. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Every day, the new improvised sharia court issues tragic and absurd sentences. (courtesy IMDb)

My take: As with the above film, Abderrahmane Sissako (born in Kiffa, Mauritania) is a director who also provides us with an extraordinary view of religious intolerance from the neighbouring country of Mali in Western Africa. This is not the Timbuktu of song or legend we know of in the West.  Here is a portrait of a world of merciless jihadists, and long-suffering, dignified village people trampled underfoot.  Local people, for the most part, appear throughout, and Sissako has photographed the film in a documentary style.  Within the fleeting shadows of the magnificent sand-dunes and ancient wattle and mud dwellings, it reveals the tragedy of religion misrepresented and gone wild.  Not a light film by any means, but as dry and uncompromising as the landscape in which it is set.

Mignonnes –  directed by Maïmouna Doucouré – Netflix (2020)

(image courtesy IMDb) 🐾🐾🐾

Amy, an 11-year-old girl, joins a group of dancers named “the cuties” at school, and rapidly grows aware of her burgeoning femininity – upsetting her mother and her values in the process. (courtesy IMDb)

My take: Following the theme of directors making films that allow us insight into their own (and often mis-understood) communities, Doucouré reveals the life of working class multi-racial migrant families living in France. Unfortunately, all the good the film has succeeded in providing us through these insights has been overshadowed by a PC cancel culture campaign that seeks to stamp down anything it cannot agree with.  Such is the case with Mignonnes (English title Cuties).  Yes, there is explicit material. Yes, some of the imagery is highly uncomfortable viewing.  No, there is not the ‘claimed’ blatant exploitation of vulnerable people and age groups. However, this interpretation should be left to you the individual viewer.  Whatever your viewpoint, I believe the film portrays all the wonderful vitality and energy of a multi-racial world, and its effect upon our Western polarized world. Please feel free to agree or disagree – but not until you have watched Mignonnes for yourself.



  1. Three great choices, all on my mental list, though I have yet to watch any of them. Mignonnes has indeed suffered from criticism ranging from ‘exploitation’ to ‘paedophilia’, yet is has been praised by the much-respected British Film Institute.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are right PJ. Try and grab hold of anything directed by Ciro Guerra. These days I have all but deserted tinsel town for so many far more imaginative and totally downright brilliant films from the ‘real’ world.

    Liked by 1 person

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