, the title pretty much sums up a central theme of the film, in Gabon, some people have it, most people don't, but everyone wants it, everyone's a dreamer. In Imunga Ivanga's 2001 film, Dole (pronounced Dough-lay) is also the name of the popular scratch-off lottery that plays a prominent role in the plot of the film, but the local lottery is not the only way that the characters dream about making lots of money and escaping the urban poverty around them: one character desires to be a rapper, the other a prize-fighter, another a tugboat captain, and even a carpenter/ladiesman. Then there is crime. The film centers around a young teenage boy named Mougler, whose father is an alcoholic who recently abandoned Mougler and his ailing mother; Mougler, once the top student in his class, has taken to truancy and petty thievery, but most of the time he hangs around on the street with his friends: Baby Lee, the "leader" and the "brains" of the gang, he's a wannabe smooth-talker and dreams of fronting a hip-hop group; the diminutive Joker, a street urchin around Mougler's age who wants to joint Mougler's Uncle Charlie as a tugboat operator; Bezingo the carpenter and ladiesman; and Askon, the prize-fighter. Mougler also has a girlfriend, Chauri, however, as the film progresses, and the disapproving Chauri looks askance at Mougler's criminal behavior, he risks losing her to the ascot-sporting dandy who has taken Mougler's spot at the top of his HS class.
Ivanga's film looks to both classical African film aesthetics, various brands of social realism, for example, with a more Americanized pop aesthetic; there is a lot of location shooting, hand-held camerawork, non-professional actors, but this is mixed with a more vibrant color scheme, quick cuts, zoom/reframings, and a rap score. The film begins with a rap performance as Baby Lee leads his group in an energetic rap on a graffitti-covered rooftop; the entire scene has the feel of an early 1990s rap video. From there the film principally follows the characters as they commit petty thievery or just screw around. Eventually, the Dole craze sweeps them along, a local man becomes the first lottery millionaire (and self-important jerk to boot). And when Mougler's mothers sickness gets worse, a randomn idea to rob the Dole kiosk is taken up, with semi-tragic results. Ultimately, Mougler is too late, his mother dies before he can get the medicine to her in the hospital, a event that leads Chauri and Mougler to reconcile. I could decide if the last scene was a "real" Hollywood ending or a fantasy-sequence. All of the film's main characters are on Uncle Charlie's boat listening to music, even the once dead Baby Lee (I thought Mougler was going to die in the robbery, especially after his mom jinxed him by saying she named Mougler and "nothing bad could happen to you."), who was killed during the kiosk robbery. They produce a bunch of lottery tickets and Mougler throws his into the ocean, declaring he can't wait any longer. All in all, it was a pretty average, albeit short, film, nothing like the last two films in the African Film Series.