Saturday, June 17, 2017

Liyana (2017) LA Film Festival 2017

To be honest I am not really sure what I think of Liyana- and that is a good thing because it means I can keep thinking about it. The film a mix of documentary and “animated story” is a one of a kind film and one of the most special cinematic experiences I’ve had all year. When the film was done I was trying to reach the PR people to see if the filmmakers had sent the film to certain other film festivals and GKids. I needed to know that the film was going to find it’s audience.

As I said at the start the film is a two part one. The documentary portion of the film follows a group of kids in Swaziland who come together to create a story with the help of Gcina Mhlophe . We watch as they go through their lives and create the story. The animated portion of the film story is the story the kids come up with. The story is about a young girl named Liyana who has to go off and rescue her two younger brothers who have been kidnapped and the grand adventure it becomes. It is a story based on their lives and they tell it with absolute perfection.

That the kids tell the story is what makes the film so magical, these kids are born storytellers. They act it out and do voices and explain what we need to know and they just sell it to the moon and back. I want these kids to create more stories and I want them to tell them. I want a whole series of films where we go from the kids telling the story to to seeing the story and back again. As it’s done here it just blows you away. Yea the animation is minimal, but the art is beyond glorious and coupled with the voices of the storytellers, you don't care. You're just being carried along

As I was watching the film all I could think was “am I really seeing this? Are these kids really that good?”

Hell yea.

I was blown away.

To be honest I had no idea what this film was. I was simply asked to review the film by the PR person who mentioned animation and I simply said yes. I had no idea that what I was going to be seeing a film that was going to make stare at the screen in wide eyed wonder.

Liyana is magic of the best kind

An absolute must see- one of the great finds of 2017 and probably one of the best films as well. Certainly it is one of the best films on the art of stories and storytelling I've ever run across.

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