2014 / 9 / 20
A Critique of Hajooj Kuka s Documentary Film*
By: Mustafa Mudathir
Beats of The Antonov laid a horrendous preposition!
Its very name poses a formidable paradox. The Antonov is heartless! If you think of deriving beats from it, then your own vocal chords are surely better and safer sound generators. Ok, how about thinking that the Antonov, an airplane, urges people to go find drums and start making beats, you have to remember that Antonovs bomb to kill and destroy! But this last assumption is actually what the film tried to examine!
The movie would have been a great visual research on the link between bombing and singing---;--- One would learn to stop worrying and love the bomb, actually. But of course this hypothetical link between bombing and dancing was not thoroughly examined and resolved because there is always an easier way to resolve films. That is to finish them!
Beats of The Antonov has no storyline to follow. No narrative. Most images could have been adapted from the official Sudan TV archives, if they still know´-or-respect this word in their campaign to erase as much of secular Sudan as they can.
Not having a thread of narrative is Ok if other intentions are laid out from the beginning. But not having a story and not abiding by your intentions to prove that people can learn to carve beats and scrape songs from their daily dose of killer bombings is not ok. And it isn t enough to use that generic, ill-trodden term: Music heals!
So how did Kuka and company s film fare to that lovely child waving bye-bye as a closing shot?
Well, nothing easier than to bring in some politicians to talk about genocide, oppression which is really crap when it replaces the movie s preposition.
The movie resorts to interviewing local musicians who talk mainly about non-musical matters and politics. The film brings in a Phd holder who thinks that all people in the North of Sudan are sick and in identity crisis .
The second narrator of the movie Alsarah wages a war on skin-lightening creams and even targets a brand name of such types of skin care creams. Ironically the lady from the Antonov beaten area disagrees with Alsarah and thinks the creams to lighten the black skin color are good in certain conditions!
Kuka s movie has unfortunately replaced the visual and auditory experience its name promises by political one-sided talk on why the Antonov is targeting these wretched human beings living in the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains areas of the now divided Sudan.
Then, in an apparently political shift, Alsarah wonders: Why Sudanese don t know that Black Is Beautiful ! Who really knows if black women in the country from which she borrows this dictum also use skin lightening creams.
Beats of The Antonov won The People s Choice Award at Toronto International Film Festival 2014.
Read the full post with photos at Yamustafa!
* Beats of the Antonov 2014 (Sudan)
65 min. Documentary
-dir-ector/screeplay writer: Hajooj kuka
Narrator: Hajooj Kuka and Alsarah (singer/songwriter)