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Omar Sy Stars As An Undocumented Senegalese Worker In French Comedy-Drama 'Samba'

In 'Samba,' Cesár Award-winning French actor Omar Sy stars as an undocumented Senegalese immigrant trying to evade deportation in France.


Samba is a French comedy-drama that tells the story of an undocumented Senegalese immigrant threatened with deportation after living and working in Paris for a decade. The film, directed by French creative duo Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, stars César Award-winning actor Omar Sy as the eponymous Samba Cissé. The French actor of Mauritanian and Senegalese origin had previously worked with Nakache and Toledano on their 2011 drama The Intouchables.

As Samba, an aspiring chef, tries to achieve resident status with the help of a well-intentioned immigration social worker played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, the film chronicles the harrowing experiences often faced by undocumented migrant workers as they try to evade capture. Sy, who has lived in France his entire life, recently addressed the psychological toll such an existence has on those trying to survive abroad without papers. “I was born and raised in France, and there’s a big difference between that and coming later as an immigrant," Sy said. "You have to learn the language, you have to learn the rules. It’s simple: Either you’re legal or you’re not. To be not legal is a big issue if you’re trying to live decently. To me, born and raised in France, walking on the street is normal. Your head is up, you’re free. You can go wherever you want. But for a guy like Samba, just crossing the street is a nightmare that maybe ends with him being sent back to Senegal.”

Watch the trailer and a short preview clip from the film below. Samba opens in New York City and Los Angeles on Friday, July 24th.

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Photo: Courtesy of Saphir Niakadie

Meet Four Women Pushing Ivorian Art Forward Through Photography

These young and emerging female photographers from Côte d'Ivoire are shaking up Abidjan's art scene.

There's been a tremendous amount of awe-inspiring art coming from the African continent lately. Photography is no exception. It is one of the most powerful tools used in changing the way in which the West perceives Africa and its diaspora and perhaps the reason why contemporary photography is thriving.

The female gaze is paramount to the way in which the aforementioned visual stories are told and the female photographers here are using their camera lenses to give us glimpses of lands, peoples, histories, and futures unknown. Their individual experiences and perspectives are widening the scope of what is believed to be Côte d'Ivoire. Within the country's capital, Abidjan, there's a creative scene that seems to have sprawled up out of nowhere yet is so rich in its offerings.

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