Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Abderrahmane Sissako, Effie Brown and More Invited to the Academy as Diversity Push Continues David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Abderrahmane Sissako, Effie Brown and More Invited to the Academy as Diversity Push Continues Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Review: Arriving on Netflix TODAY, Definitive Nina Simone Documentary, 'What Happened, Miss Simone' Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Haiti and the Dominican Republic - A Conflict Captured on Film Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' Fried Chicken & Drugs: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Writer Charla Lauriston Creates the Anti-­Strong Black Woman in 'Clench & Release' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' A Muscle-Bound Michael B. Jordan Hitting a Speed Bag w/ Stallone's Encouragement in Pic from 'Creed' Greetings From 'The Walking Dead: Season 6' Set as Daryl Plants an Unexpected Kiss on Michonne Greetings From 'The Walking Dead: Season 6' Set as Daryl Plants an Unexpected Kiss on Michonne Taraji P. Henson Books Lead in 'Hunger Games' Producer's Directorial Debut, ‘The Best Of Enemies’ Taraji P. Henson Books Lead in 'Hunger Games' Producer's Directorial Debut, ‘The Best Of Enemies’ PBS Yanks Ben Affleck 'Finding Your Roots' Episode + Puts Off 3rd & 4th Seasons Until Editorial Standards Improve PBS Yanks Ben Affleck 'Finding Your Roots' Episode + Puts Off 3rd & 4th Seasons Until Editorial Standards Improve Casting News - Teyonah Parris Is Spike Lee's Lysistrata + NWA Biopic Casts its Tupac, Jussie Smollett Heads 'Underground' Casting News - Teyonah Parris Is Spike Lee's Lysistrata + NWA Biopic Casts its Tupac, Jussie Smollett Heads 'Underground' Here's Your First Look At Taye Diggs in the Title Role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Here's Your First Look At Taye Diggs in the Title Role in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' Teaser: Marques Houston, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Draya Michele Star in TV One Original Movie, 'Will to Love' Teaser: Marques Houston, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Draya Michele Star in TV One Original Movie, 'Will to Love' Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Coming Soon: 'Tough Bond' (Unsettling Doc On Homeless Kenyan Children Finding Comfort In Sniffing Glue)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 1, 2014 at 2:17PM

Coming Soon: 'Tough Bond' (Unsettling Doc On Homeless Kenyan Children Finding Comfort In Sniffing Glue)
1
Tough Bond

My usual immediate reaction to films like this one that paint what feels like an all-too limited portrait of Africans in Africa, is usually a conflicted one - a simultaneous rejection and appreciation. On one hand, I tend to shy away from any new films (especially those made by non-Africans) that appear to focus on the usual stories (especially documentaries) about the continent, as in, war, poverty, famine, corruption etc - all fitting under the "problems of Africa" umbrella; But on the other hand, I do recognize the reality of these *problems*, and their right to be highlighted on film (as well as the filmmaker's rights to tell a story that appeals to them), even though the medium itself is limiting in the sense that there's only so much one can cover in a 90-minute to 2-hour block of time, and thus, at times, the story isn't told in its entirety, which is unfair to both the subjects within the film, and the audience.

The danger of the single story... to quote author Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

Not to disparage the filmmakers. This is obviously a subject matter that they are interesting in and passionate about, and it's a topic that's very real and worthy of coverage. So I can't say that this is a film that shouldn't have been made. I'm just sharing my honest reactions, and calling for some balance, so that the next American or European filmmaker (as is often the case) who's inspired to tell a story about "Africa" will maybe consider taking the road less traveled. 

There is so much more to "Africa" that can be explored on film, but the fascination seems to remain on what is maybe considered an easier sell (to financiers and distributors, especially here in the west) - an image of Africa that the rest of the world seems to believe or accept as the dominant, or only one.

All that said, I'm still definitely curious to see this film in full. This glue-sniffing *phenomenon* by homeless Kenyan kids isn't something that I can say that I'm very familiar with (we've certainly heard of similar occurrences here in the USA), so I'm sure there's an education in it for me, which is always a good thing certainly!

Titled Tough Bond, from directors Austin Peck and Anneliese Vandenberg, it looks like an unsettling feature documentary (at least, based on the contents of the trailer below). 

It's described as follows:

Intimate documentary images and a radically honest look at Kenyan society. When cultural and family ties no longer exist, homeless children find comfort in sniffing glue. Tough Bond is a feature length documentary film about our irrepressible need as humans for family- no matter how tough it may be. We follow 4 kids who find family and a new identity as "Survivors", living together on the streets of Kenya, huffing glue to endure the hell of street life.

It made its world premiere at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival, and continued to travel the international film festival circuit, and I've been keeping tabs on it, so I can update you along the way. I've been informed today that the film will be released on VOD, next week Tuesday, May 6, 2014 on iTunes, Amazon, XBox, Playstation, etc. So look for it on any of those platforms, if the below trailer intrigues you enough to want to see the full film. 

I'll certainly give it a look myself, and share my thoughts afterward. I just might be pleasantly surprised.

Watch the trailer for Tough Bond:

TOUGH BOND: (OFFICIAL TRAILER) from Village Beat on Vimeo.


Shadow & ActNewsletter