The African Doctor is an excellent film about a Zairian doctor’s fight against adversity and how he and his family find community in a small French town. That’s the short version.
Long version? A Zairian doctor (Marc Zinga) who is deeply ashamed of his roots and would rather stay in France than go home to Zaire where his people desperately need his expertise decides to take a job as town doctor after graduating the University of Paris. The job requires uprooting his family from their happy life in Zaire and a move to some French backwoods where the people only brush their teeth once a week and would rather die (I’m not exaggerating) than have him touch them, all so that he can become a French citizen and continue living amongst these deeply racist, disrespectfully unhygienic people.
Worse than the racism his children endure, and his poor wife’s inability to find any spices at the local market, are Dr. Seyolo Zantoko’s dismissal of the racism and loneliness they are forced to endure in a town where the only Black faces they ever see are their own. The doctor proceeds to lie to his wife, Anne (Aissa Maiga), and take all manner of micro-aggressive dismissal from the locals, as well as publicly insult her extended family when they visit and bring life, music, and African spices to that bland little town. Unbeknownst to him, he’s also being sabotaged behind the scenes for the sake of mayoral politics.
In the end, the town is won over in small part by his bedside manner and in large part by his daughter’s amazing soccer skills, which give them a real chance of winning district soccer games and since (per usual) the Black person’s humanity only matters when we are entertaining white people in some way, his obstacles are removed and our orphan doctor he gets the melanin-deficient family he’s always wanted. White people have accepted him. He can finally attempt to love himself.
I give The African Doctor 3.75 stars, for accuracy if nothing else. Also, the doctor’s wife is ridiculously beautiful.