Bienvenue a Marly-Gomont (or Fargo)

Welcome to Marly-Gomont (The African Doctor) provides historical perspective on a contemporary problem.  An African doctor, educated in France but of Congolese nationality,  is recruited to small town France in 1975. He sees a path to citizenship, the community sees a black person for the first time and wants nothing to do with him.  Predictably, with great charm and patience, he and his family win the community over, one ally at a time.

This drama is played out throughout small city America over and over again, but a little branch of this movie’s plot has particular significance for Fargo.  A smug, evil city council member who is angling to be mayor claims he has nothing against the doctor, yet he has Dr. Zantoko arrested because of birth certificate irregularities (the doctor was orphaned at birth). The community rallies to support the doctor and re-elect the mayor instead of the city council member, and the family lives a rich and full life in Marly-Gomont.  This movie is based on a true story; let’s hope history repeats itself.

Many scenes will resonate with American resettlement communities, especially those in the northern tier of states: kids seeing snow for the first time, church hymns being sung with no rhythm our soul.  Soccer is the great unifier.  Nothing surprising, but all totally charming, uncanny, and informative in the parallels.

Not sure where it is available: I saw it on a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis.  2016 release.

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