Beats of the Antonov
Politics, identity and music converge in South Sudan in this offering from war reporter and filmmaker Hajooj Kuka.
Kuka’s subjects are the Sudanese of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions. The people of this area have long suffered under the Al-Bashir regime out of Khartoum in the north. They’ve become used to the roar of the Russian Antonov planes flying overhead and know exactly where to hide when they drop their bombs. Through this chaos and violence, the music of these people has become vital to their survival. Not only does it uplift their spirits, but it brings them together and separates them from those who favour the state-approved Arabic music of the north. It has become an assertion of identity in the face of overwhelming opposition from those in power.
Many feature films have tackled the “music transcends violence” theme before, but these people are living this message, and we see them surrounded by the flames trying to laugh, sing, dance and play in order to survive. Music can often lead to sentimentality in a film, but Kuka avoids this completely. He weaves together heart-wrenching interviews, scenes of utter horror, and long takes of jubilant tribal dancing seemlessly. It’s also the best film I’ve seen to explain the identity crisis of the Sudanese, and how this has led to the current civil war. Kuka’s subjects are completely inspiring. (Cameron Bryant)
Friday, September 5th, 7:15pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 4
Sunday, September 7th, 12:45pm, Scotiabank 9
Thursday, September 11th, 9:15pm, Jackman Hall AGO