Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Nakom (2016) New Directors New Films 2016

I could talk about how this film was co-directed by two women, how the film is the first filmed in Kusaal language or how it was shot on location over four months with a cast of non-actors. I could talk about a lot of things to make this review longer or to distract you from themain point, but I'm not going to do any of that. I'm simply going to say that this is one of the best films I've ever seen at a New Directors New Films festival.

The Nakom of the title is a village that Iddrisu returns to after his father's sudden death in a motorcycle accident. the plan is to bury his father and then return to school, but it doesn't go that way. The family is deeply in debt and unless he helps the family make it to harvest the family may have no future.

Yes, we've been here before. Yes, there probably isn't anything new here, but damn this film transcends the plot you've seen before to become something that is one of the treasures of the film year. And for all the talk of the basic plot being something we've seen before the ending, isn't and it packs a real punch.

Why does the film work as well as it does?

To start of with the music by Daby Balde. Simple themes drift through the film filling in emotion where needed. Its never over done and it beautifully compliments the emotion of the scenes. Actually the music often acts as bridges between scenes and it helps keep the magic flowing.

The second thing the film has is the cinematography. Not only do the images look beautiful and awe inspiring but they give the film a real sense of place. We are in Nakom and the fields around it. The house all feel real and lived in. This is more than filming in real places but it feels as though it's filming real lives.

And of course there is the cast. Yes things can be bumpy and imperfect, but at the same time there is a rawness that makes it more real. And at the center is Jacob Ayanaba as Iddrisu. He may very well be the find of the year. He has a naturalness and an ease on screen that only the truly great actors have. More importantly he makes you believe what he is doing. For me the moment that sold him, and made me want him to be discovered by Hollywood was the sequence where he is carrying his father's body for burial. Watch how the strong man slips and becomes the grieving son. Its all in the eyes,

As I said above this is one of the best films I've seen at a New Directors New Films over the last seven or eight years.

A must see.

For tickets and more information go here.

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