Saloum (2021) - full transcript

In 2003, a trio of mercenaries escaping a coup in Guinea-Bissau take refuge in a hidden region on the Saloum river of Senegal. But something from beyond the grave awaits them there. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Here, they say
that revenge is like a river.

And our actions are the dugouts
guided by the current.

We say that revenge is like a river,

whose bottom is reached

only when we drown.










There's a lot of bullshit out there
about Bangui's Hyenas.

Cannibals, sorcerers,
shepherds turned into mercenaries.

Their names have echoed
on battlefields,

stories told at nightfall

to excite child soldiers

high on crack.



If there is even any evidence
of their existence,

no one has ever been able to say
when or how they disappeared from memory...

Hey Mexican,

take care of that sweater,

it's the Juventus, not junk.

525 thousand.

And 500 thousand
on Tony Montana's delivery.

You hear that, Felix?

Your foreskin face
is worth more than a McLaren.

No one talks to me like that,
you bastard.

I had a McLaren before you
could even hold a gun.

What a clown!

These clowns are the only ones
who can get you to Dakar in one piece.

Unless you want to jump out here?




We're losing fuel.

The tank is fucked.

We won't run for an hour.

Where are we?

-Over Gambia.

Not Gambia. Dakar!

My contact, Dakar!

If you don't take me to Dakar,
I'll kill you, motherfuckers!

I'll kill you!
I'll kill him and him!


It must have been a bullet.

-Carry on to Senegal.

To Saloum.

Oh, for fuck's sake.

These fucking Guineans
ruined my Versace.


Seriously, you grew up here?

And your Wolof is still
as bad as ever.

I've spent enough time in Saloum

to know I don't want to
stay here very long.

With all those dead civilians,
the Guineans will call the Senegalese.

We're going
to have the police on our ass.

That's why I've got the brain
and you have the muscles.

The muscles say you midget
better have a plan.


Or I'll bury you

and I'll get out of here
to meet some chicks in Cape Verde.

Don't forget to kiss my ass
when you wake up.

A knife.

Not a bullet.

It was done before we even took off.

Someone is playing us.

Why don't we ask him?

I was with him all the way.
He's clean.

The cartel is paying a million
to bring him back alive,

why would they fuck us halfway?

How do we know
he doesn't want to fuck us?

That he didn't pay a team in Dakar
to take us out and steal the gold?

Let's knock him on the head,
problem solved.

Mr. Brain, what's your damn plan now?

There's a place.

Eight hours walking, if we go fast.

There will be fuel
and resin to stop the leak.

As soon as that's done,
we're out of here.

If that fails, we have enough
to buy another plane.

And that's where it started.


where the river embraces the sea.

A sacred and protected land,

home of Senghor and land
of the great Senegalese marabouts.

Located north of The Gambia
and south of Senegal.

Sprinkled with islets and villages
on kilometers of lagoons.

Land of myths and cursed kings.

There's no better hiding place

for these mercenaries on horses.

OK. Go ahead.

I know the camp and the owner.

It's isolated,
far away from the town.


The nearest village is 10 km away.

Three days here
and they will forget about us.

You let me do the talking.

Welcome to the Baobab.

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here".

Usually, the spirits of the Saloum
are quieter.

And not as well-dressed.


Do I know you?

My apologies for arriving unexpectedly.

I have fond memories of this place,

so I decided to bring my colleagues.

I don't remember you.

And I have a photographic memory.

It was a long time ago.
You haven't aged a bit.

The Saloum preserves.

Do you have four rooms for three nights?

I'm afraid you're too late,
I rented the last two this morning.

Follow me.
We'll try colleagues in the region.

Even if I'm the only one
practicing my formula.

Oh, really?
Which is?

You pay nothing
but what you consider fair to give.

Oh, really?


Loyalty Bar!

Two glasses of Jack.

One for me and one for my friend,
the curly one.

Instead, guests commit to perform

daily tasks necessary
for the functioning of the camp.

Which certainly isn't for everyone.

For alcoholic drinks,
your chore is to clean the bar.


Excuse me, Sirs.

Ladies and gents.

Ladies and gents.

I hope you enjoyed your drinks.

You're gonna do your chores.

Did you see how he waited to fuck me?

Didn't I tell you to shut up
and let me talk?

Well, it appears two cabins
have become available.

Two instead of four. Is that okay?

It's perfect!

We'll settle in while
our friend does his chores.

Saloum is a natural sanctuary.

It's our duty to preserve it.

Tasks are designated every morning,
with other guests.

If everyone accepts,

an OK from the group will do.


Here are your cabins.

Hot water and electricity included.

Please join us for dinner.

Let's get to know each other.

You can do your bar chores after dinner,

no problem.

So we pay nothing,
but we're their bitches for three days.

This is your plan?

Fall-back plan.

We're here for fuel,
resin and relaxation.

For that, we have to gain their trust.

His fear has gotten worse.
He can't even ride a canoe.

Chaka won't shake off his fear.

He's preparing for something.

Something... he isn't telling us.

Lie down.


We have to get out of here.

There's an eye on us.

You're useless, you can't sing,

-you can't cook, you're useless!
-I can't cook?

-All you do is talking.
-And what do you do? Nothing.


Please join us.

Thank you.

-Good evening.
-Good evening.

Everything OK?

Really good!
The cabins are perfect!

First of all, William, Solange and Eva

had to leave us for health reasons.

Allahu akbar.

But providence has brought us
a new group of holidaymakers.

This young artist couple
joined us two days ago,

Younce and Sephora.

Not couple, collaborators.

Ex-couple, new collaborators.

Stay strong!

Thank you!

Here, we have Awa,
who joined us yesterday.

And my right-hand man
and man of confidence, Salamane.

Good evening to the new arrivals.

If you need anything,
I am at your disposal.

And you, my dear friends?

Cheikh, Rufin, Maudou and Felipe.

Felipe is a bit twitchy, isn't he?

Mosquitoes and thiep
don't agree with him.

Neither does Baobab powder, right?

Stay strong.

Taste this thiou.
Tell me what you think,

and bon app├ętit.

You're keeping your gloves on?

I prefer to keep my hands clean.

And when do you leave?

In three days. Back to Kedougou.



We work at the gold mine.

Felipe is our contact
for South American investors.

So what brings you
to our beautiful Sine-Saloum region?

Education and culture.

Exploiting a land we don't understand

can quickly turn into
destructive post-colonialism.

Saloum is a good start for understanding
the habits and customs of our country,

that's what I think.


Senegal needs partners, not operators.

Senegal needs money,

not luggage carriers for honkies.

"No one can imagine
how the grain of the poor

has fed the cows of the rich
in our country."

Good! Any man quoting
Thomas Sankara at dinner

deserves the leadership of the table.

Can I exchange that for a transfer
of chores to our local Tupac?

Tupac didn't sell any more than
I did on the mainland.

And you, Awa?

What do you think about Upper Volta?

That even monkeys
can culture themselves.

I forgot to mention, Awa is deaf and mute.
But she reads lips.

Culture can be shared.

Tell us your story.

You won't like the script.

It's the story of a Mexican drug trafficker
evacuated by Senegalese Mercenaries.

Maybe it would be better for everyone
to understand your conversation?

Mr. Cheikh?

What else?

I am the last to arrive.
This camp has no means of contact.

I'm the only one who knows.

Please, sir...

If you're the only one who knows
and they don't understand,

what's to stop us
from shooting you here,

after Salamane's excellent thiou?

Because I'm going with you.

What's this bullshit?

Wow. Even gorillas
can learn sign language.

Either you take me
or I'll expose you.

Please forgive his rudeness.

When it's about gold mining,
all means of communication are good.

Gold miners who know Sankara
and sign language.

You impress me more by the minute,
Mr Cheikh.

You'll be sick to death of us.

What better honour
than a Baobab dinner in Saloum?

Souley, my old friend!


You always appear like an ill omen.

Please let me introduce,
Captain Souleymane Fale.

Captain? Captain of...?


Not of a canoe.

What brings you to this remote part
of the country, Captain?

A few days of rest outside Dakar,
to get my thoughts together.

Especially since the coup
in Guinea Bissau.

It seems to be heating up
at the border...

That's why I'm here.


The purest strain of the Dakar police.

Captain Souleymane Fale,
professional Flag drinker!

Omar, you're too much.

How are you?

Good night.

Please excuse me.
I'm kind of worn out.

Very good evening.
Thank you for everything.


Not bad.

Careful Corporal, I hit hard.

I expect your answer tomorrow.


We leave you five minutes
and you've already started to fiddle.

A punk kid full of threats
and a cop from Dakar.

What's next? James Brown?

And you,

I'm starting to think
your fetishes are a magnet for trouble.

What you're hiding...

will kill us.

Rafa didn't come back tonight.

Omar has called for us.


Please, don't start, Younce.

What have you been up to all night?

Did you fuck all night?

None of your business.

When I say be discreet
and blend in,

what didn't you understand?

You said:
fuel, resin and relaxation.

We don't have fuel or resin.

So I'm relaxing.

May we start,
now that the latecomers are here?

Salamane is going to pass among you.

Please dig into the jar
to pick your duty.

There are two identical papers,
each for two people.

The cop arrived last.

If the girl's story is true,
then he's busted us too.

Let's go to Gambia
before things get out of hand.

Thank you, Salamane.

Those whose task I am calling,
please raise their hands.

Delivery to the Village.

Salamane and Mr. Maudou
will go to the village

to deliver the goods
for the villagers.

The Beauty of the Camp?


The name may be misleading,

but the task is essential
to the well-being of others.

Before the old man finally
resurrects Biafra,

have you made up your mind?

Who dies? The girl?
The cop? The Mexican?

Bird Island?

The Delta Fishermen.

Delta Fishermen?

Maybe the names are too fancy,

but they allow our guests
not to feel too...

-You could put it that way.

We maintain our quality of life

thanks to the villagers
to whom we render service.

Guests rarely leave without
leaving a gift. Even a small one.

And what are we defending
with horses and guns?

We have inherited
the best task of the day.

First I thought about taking the quads.

You have quads?

Two beautiful babes.
But maybe a less frontal approach

will better suit
what we're going to do.

Hoping you can shoot?

There are no good shooters,
only good targets.


You're the queen of conversation.

I'll talk when I get my answer.

Show me some respect.
I'm surely your elder. Swamp Toad.

Take me with you or I'll expose you.

I don't care, but I'm curious,

why do you want
to run away with the devil?

You, devils?

Do we look like UNICEF?

Bangui's Hyenas.
Half Senegalese, half Central Africa.

Chaka, Rafa, Papa Minuit.

Same who disarmed the Seleka
in Central Africa without firing a bullet.

The same who cleared
Freetown of the RUF.

Same ones who foiled the coup

against Konan Bedie in Ivory Coast.


Oh yeah?
Where did you hear that?

Stories about heroes
travel faster than bullets.



What's going on here?

For years, Omar
has been redistributing goods

to the villagers
in exchange for their services.

The elders negotiate.
The wrestlers collect.



The village of Djiffer
is as close as we get to civilization.

Here we fight one of the evils
affecting us most.

An evil that requires BB guns
can't be that threatening.

It all depends on the threat.

Our friend helps to spot them
before they get away.

The Saloum is home to one of the largest
varieties of fish in the world.

Species ranging from 7 to 70 kg,
depending on the location.

BB guns?

What am I looking at?


They come to Djiffer
to load up equipment.

They go up the delta
to fish with explosives.

The three little pigs there?
They don't seem that dangerous.

They destroy our ecosystem
and threaten our local fishermen.


You have to put them in the ground
to make them grow.

Looking at them is not enough.


It grows in Tulum.

I know what it is.
I grew up with it.

Why is it so important here?

Mangrove is like everything else
that grows in Saloum.

Harmless in appearance,
but extremely hardy.

Coveted by foreign operators,

like your bosses with their gold.

It's gold that you mine, isn't it?

Your Interpol file says that the cartel
has issued a contract on your head.

It's smart to stay here

and disguise yourself
as a crazy drug addict to disappear.

And if you're the dealer,

I'm guessing they're the Hyenas...

Hey! Calm down.

My teams are already in place.

They'll move during dinner.

Until then, you'll help me keep
the Hyenas distracted

and away from their weapons.

Like I said,

what grows in the Saloum
may seem harmless,

but is tough as hell.
And tenacious.

Where did you learn
to shoot like that?

A few years in the Army...
And a rifle at home.

Don't tell Captain Fale.

So we have that in common.


The battlefield.

What conflict?

Angola, Mozambique, Casamance.

A dark time in my life.

But now I have become
an expert tour guide.


Congo, Central African Republic,
Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast.

But now I have become
an expert logistician.

Speaking of logistics,
can I ask you a favor?

From soldier to soldier.

I need fuel and resin.
Do you have that?

I have enough to pay for it.

A few kilometers from the camp
there is an old village.

We have a shed there.

You'll find everything you need.

-Thank you. If there's anything...
-No, no, no.

Not between us.
Especially after today.

Now let's face those
who didn't get the chance

to shoot poachers' butts.

Little bitch.

Come, taco face. We need to talk.

No, he stays here,
I have to talk with him.

The girl...
she knows too much about us.

This is getting too complicated.

The village they deal with,
something's wrong with it.

-What village?
-We need to get out of here.

There's resin and fuel.
We get it, we get out.

Minuit, you take care of Salamane,
he knows where it's stored.

Where's Felix?


The cop has kept him for questioning.

We meet at dinner in two hours,
you know what you have to do.

We stick to the plan.

I have to be there, and you too.

You? How?

Where were you?
You always arrive after the battle!

I was just talking about
our mission this afternoon.

A bullet in the butts
and they turned tail to run.

Omar's been talking about
you all day.


Another time, another life.

Some guests are missing.

It seems that Awa
has decided not to join us.

After all, no one is a prisoner here.

Speaking of prisoners,

Mr Souleymane,

is there a problem with my client?

Rufin told me that you detained him
for questioning.

Oh, no.

I was curious about
your gold mining project.

Senegalese are protective of their land.

You know how that is.
You're half-Serrere.

Only the good half.

Well, I know that for many of us,

today wasn't pleasant,

but I would like to hear
your experiences.

Mr. Rufin, would you like to begin?

I counted birds.

Birds everywhere.

I think there was a shack over there?

There was a shack, wasn't there?

A shack?

Made of irregular sheet metal.

It looked like...

a cattle crate.

The days can be very hot here,

and the nights...


There were reeds all along the river,

and a lot more tall grass.

Everything seemed...

More threatening.

More hostile.

I remember feeling so lonely.

So weak.

Every step towards freedom.

I tore it up.

With every breath I took flight.

I tore it up.

Because every part of the child
that was still alive,

you tore it up.

Every night,

for weeks.

You defiled the 11-year-old child I was,

even while you promised
safety and protection.

At that time,

we child soldiers

called him Colonel Remington.

Because, on the battlefield,

he was the one who carried this.

Also because he was the only one

who promised us paradise.


in Saloum.


Omar, what did you do?

You should never
have come to Senegal.

Units 1 and 2!

It was you!

You have lied to us from the beginning.

You lied to us so we'd follow you.

If I told you why,
you wouldn't let me come.

The only option was to land here.

Units 1 and 2! Answer me!

They won't answer you.

Unit 1 & 2! Answer!

They left this morning...

...richer than when they came.



Oh fuck!

What the fuck did you do to him?

We need to get inside the cabins!

It's started!

What has started?!



What does he have?


He's dead.
Rafa, the cop.

Minuit, you take the musicians.

Let's get the weapons
and go to the shed.

And what about our new friend?

You're dead! I'm exposing you.

Too late.

What's wrong with him?

He's sleeping, can't you see?

He's dead.
And if we stay here, we'll join him.

And Omar?

You two shut up, ok?

What an asshole!

No stab wounds.

No bullet holes.

No sign of poison.

Do you smell that?



A man couldn't have done this.

Spirits can't penetrate
inside the cabin,

because of the artificial light
and the magnetic waves.

What the fuck now?

What's going on?

Power outage.

Untie me, I can handle it.

What is he doing?

Untie me!

Untie me!

-It's started.
-What's started?

Omar was their guardian.

You killed the only barrier
between them and us.

They're coming to take us,
one by one.


We gather up any weapons
and you take us to the shed.

Guns won't do any good.

You killed his ferryman.

What exactly happened to him?

Your grigris and initiations
won't help you here.

Bainuk's spirits are older
and stronger than your bwiti.

Bainuks disappeared from Sine-Saloum
hundreds of years ago.

Gana Sira Bana never left.

He is here and he reigns.

The curse of Sira Bana.

Let us go!

It's bullshit!

Sereres dominate the Saloum,

Bainouks are in Casamance.

The Bainuks were there before them.

Some of them sold their land
for their king's head.

Gana Sira Bana.

Who promised to curse this earth
and let it die.

This part of Saloum is cursed forever.

Only a handful of Diolas
have been allowed to stay here.

As King Bainuk's servants.

The villagers and their ears.

Your iboga will make you resistant,
it is true,

but you'll still hear them.

The spirits of Sira Bana.

And when you hear them,
you will die.

They devour your senses
one after the other.

Speech, sight, hearing,
touch, smell.

You will lose everything,
until your body no longer belongs to you.

You see?

You're as human as we are.

A bitch slap
and you shut your mouth.

Omar made a pact with the spirits

to make this place accessible again.

-How do we fight them?
-We don't fight them.

We have to run away
or they'll catch us.

To avoid hearing them,
we have to cover our ears.


I have headphones in my studio bag.

-Four sets.
-We're eight.

There are construction headsets
in the shed.

The workers use them
for the camp work.

There must be around ten.

Do you count eight?
We're three.

And we've yet to decide
if we can trust you or not.

We don't know these people,
we don't give a damn about them.

We have a deaf-mute with us.

Do you wanna get rid of her?

We help each other
to get out of here alive,

and then if you want to act
like a hero you can.

For now, I'm going to get
the comedian's headsets.

Let's go.

Bring the vehicle closer.

And why would I do that?

And then what?
You'll kill me like the old man?

You're on the run.

It's a four-seats plane

and a seat is now free.
It's up to you.

Four seats? You knew from the beginning
that I couldn't come...

And how do you know I'm on the run?

Why didn't you say anything
the first time?

Because you didn't say anything
the first time.

Once you get the headsets,
you'll leave the others behind?

We're not nannies.

Like the civilians in Bissau?

They were already dead.

We don't hurt civilians.

So it's you.
Chaka! The leader of the Hyenas.

I want to join you...

We're not alone.


As well as the spirits
of the mountain?

Those things out there

are trying to get inside our heads.


what did you do...?

The diolas from the village.

They'll do anything
to make us hear the spirits.

If they're human,
they can be killed.

Mashallah! With what?
Our fingernails?

Are there guns in here?

Hammers and axes.

Nothing else.

We're not military.

You're going to take us to the shed.

We need fuel and resin.

The cars are out of order,
but we have Omar's quads,

so we have four seats.

Salamane, Rafa, you're with me.

Captain, you're coming too.

You stay with Minuit.

No way, I'm coming too.

Don't you trust me?


But as a guarantee,
I keep the gun.

No way.

Give me your gun.



Prepare the dugout for escape.

Are you going to leave us here?

You two, barricade yourselves in.

I'm sorry for what he did to you.

Together to the end.

Together to the end.

Together to the end.

Where is it?

Come on, move.

-What the fuck is this?



Stay here.


you go first.


There are two near the hut.

I fear it's too late for them.
But I have to try.

What are you doing
with the children?

What are you doing
with the children?!

Witchcraft, sacrifices?
What did you summon here?

I'm listening.

He was using them!

They're his currency
with the spirits.

In exchange for what?

I know Remington.

He wouldn't do that
for a piece of beach!

What did he find here?

He found the entity!

What entity?


I have the headsets.
Let's get out of here.

The quads!





Holy shit!


Souley! Souley!

They're coming, we have to go!

Let's get out of here!

Help, Mr. Maudou!

I can't see anything.

Who is it?


Don't leave me like this.

Don't leave me.

Don't leave me like this.


I'm holding them.

Now that you are here,

I will not leave defeated.

Together till the end.

See you soon.

Not today.

Not today.

What's wrong with him?

Brother, you're gonna get inside,
or I'll force you.

Fear of water.

Minuit told me about Omar.

You came to take his place.

Your soul is heavy now,

you're ready.

I'm taking you with me.


Here, they say
that revenge is like a river

and our actions are the dugouts

guided by the current.

We say that revenge is like a river,

whose bottom is reached

only when we