Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Weekend B.O. Dec. 12-14 (So How’s That Boycott Working for Ya?) Weekend B.O. Dec. 12-14 (So How’s That Boycott Working for Ya?) FX Orders Comedy Pilot on Atlanta Hip-Hop Scene From & Starring Donald Glover FX Orders Comedy Pilot on Atlanta Hip-Hop Scene From & Starring Donald Glover Chadwick Boseman, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rosario Dawson, Others Share Kisses in NY Times Shorts Chadwick Boseman, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rosario Dawson, Others Share Kisses in NY Times Shorts What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends Here's the Character John Boyega Plays in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Here's the Character John Boyega Plays in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Watch Zendaya, Kadeem Hardison, Tammy Townsend in Trailer for 'K.C. Undercover' Watch Zendaya, Kadeem Hardison, Tammy Townsend in Trailer for 'K.C. Undercover' Ava DuVernay Earns Her Way Into the History Books - First Black Woman Director to Be Nominated for a Golden Globe Award Ava DuVernay Earns Her Way Into the History Books - First Black Woman Director to Be Nominated for a Golden Globe Award Beyond The Lights, Beyond The Urban Narrative: When Marketing Gets In The Way of Story Beyond The Lights, Beyond The Urban Narrative: When Marketing Gets In The Way of Story Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Will You Join The Boycott 'Exodus' Movement? (Or You Don't Care) Will You Join The Boycott 'Exodus' Movement? (Or You Don't Care) Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Will Smith Explains Why Willow Smith Dropped Out Of 'Annie' Remake Will Smith Explains Why Willow Smith Dropped Out Of 'Annie' Remake Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

DVD Review - 'The Double Steps' Is A Mysterious and Peculiar Wonder

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act June 4, 2013 at 4:08PM

Written and directed by Isaki Lacuesta, The Double Steps is a Spanish-Swiss production I profiled on the site after it won the top prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Barcelona, Spain last year. It was released in theaters across Spain, but it has yet to find distribution in the U.S. Although it's on DVD (region 2) for those with multi-region DVD players who are interested in seeing the film.
2
The Double Steps

Written and directed by Isaki Lacuesta, The Double Steps is a Spanish-Swiss production I profiled on the site after it won the top prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Barcelona, Spain last year. It was released in theaters across Spain, but it has yet to find distribution in the U.S. Although it's on DVD (region 2) for those with multi-region DVD players who are interested in seeing the film.

The Double Steps tells a mystical and superstitious story, a mysterious blend of fiction and fact. The film centers on a legend involving real-life 20th century French writer/painter François Augiéras (1925-1971), whose spirit seems to have reincarnated in a West African villager in the northwest of Mali. It is said that while he was alive, Augiéras hid in a military bunker in the desert and painted all the walls. Before fleeing the site, he sealed the entrance with a boulder; in time, the secret location was buried in the sand by the wind.

The story revolves around the journey of "Abdullah Chambaa," played by newcomer Bokar Dembele, a soldier who claims to be Augiéras himself. He’s left behind by his army for refusing to partake in a part of the training (a finely crafted and intense sequence). Chambaa, virile and fearless, embodies Augiéras alter ego. Along with Chambaa, the story follows several West African villagers, all with one goal in mind: to find Auguieras hidden “treasure”

During his path, Chambaa joins other travelers, which include thieves and refugees in search of the hidden bunker; which is said to be close to sea. As the film progresses and our rebellious main character starts losing his wits, the more bizarre the experience becomes. Here’s where the film falters a bit; you start feeling disconnected to Chambaa and his motivations.

The film opts to narrate with mostly abstract elements and artistic contemplation. It has some captivating and amusing sequences, along with some breathtaking landscapes of Mali. It’s not a movie for everyone and definitely not a crowd pleaser. There are no heroes; it’s not a love story by any means. I was actually surprised by the lack of female presence throughout; in a few scenes, the characters engage in some questionable homosexual dialogue/behavior.

One of the best sequences is when Chambaa arrives into town and meets a young woman, a prostitute of a sweet natured disposition. They engage in a funny, flirtatious banter of sorts. You would think their interaction would veer into the romantic subplot of the film but such is not the case. I can’t help to have wanted to see a romance flourish but, alas, it just wasn’t that film.

There’s also a suggestion, although comical, to bestiality. Depending on your perception, this may be readily apparent or not (Aguiéras was said to be a misogynistic homosexual and also into bestiality).

Perhaps, prior knowledge of Aguieras written works would have shed light into some of the main character’s motivations and enhance your appreciation for the film.

The film also features real life Spanish painter Miguel Barceló, who plays himself and is shown working on several paintings. Although a minor role, he serves as the film’s artistic muse.

It’s hard to negatively criticize a film like this; its originality, art direction and spontaneous moments of hilarity make up for the lack of narrative value. However, the first half worked much better than the last; the intrigue wears off later in the film as the story meanders quite a bit (I must say, I was completely immersed the first 45 minutes). Still, the ending manages to unravel some interesting metaphors.

The Double Steps offers a slice of West African culture not commonly seen in cinema, especially in this peculiar and whimsical nature. Magnificently photographed, the film is certainly unconventional and lyrical; a poetic tale told through the grim realism of the ordinary lives of these villagers. The result is both strange and wondrous.


Shadow & ActNewsletter