Mimosas : French-born director Oliver Laxe’s epic drama Mimosas (2016) follows a man named Shakib as he is chosen to lead a caravan bringing a dying Sheikh to his preferred final resting place. Obstacles arise, however, as the group encounters harsh environments and other hindrances.
It’s Dangerous ‘Round These Parts: Within the conventions of the Western genre, rugged terrain and masked bandits on horseback are just a couple examples of the dangers that could possibly await our heroes. This rings true in the case of Mimosas as well, with the unforgiving Middle Eastern desert being the backdrop of the caravan’s noble journey. Since the film has minimal dialogue and music to underscore the emotional depth of the plot, the location that the main characters thrive in speaks volumes for what is at stake. The group must cross ravines, risk losing their mules, and come across some questionable people as they trek to the Sheikh’s desired resting place. The cinematography excels at capturing the scope of their surroundings with a treacherous beauty.
Have Faith: One of the primary themes of Mimosas is to retain an essence of faith no matter how dire or impossible a certain situation may seem. The film is even separated into three sections, all named after different prayer positions from the Islamic raket to further illustrate the point. Character motivations are based around this concept of divine trust and instill a more cultural aspect within a straightforward narrative. These ideas of faith and trust carry over into a somewhat confusing plot line that alternates between the past and the present, and while the significance is a bit muddled, the theme still resonates by the film’s conclusion.
“If you do well, I will do better!“: A variety of characters are introduced in Mimosas, but the audience learns little about them and does not have enough time to form any sort of attachment to their roles. The shining star in this instance is a man by the name of Shakib (Shakib Ben Omar) who is hired to lead the caravan transporting the dying Sheikh. Shakib demonstrates a very colorful persona, as he is determined to do as best a job as he can in a position of power yet he can still maintain a sense of easygoing humor. His exchanges with the other transients are easily some of the best moments of the entire film. The acting is also subtle yet effective with a natural delivery of the sparse lines.
Although very minimalistic, Mimosas employs a potent message of faith in its quest-oriented narrative.