Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Weekend B.O. Dec. 19-21 (Sony's Grateful for Small Blessings, while Paramount Blew it) Weekend B.O. Dec. 19-21 (Sony's Grateful for Small Blessings, while Paramount Blew it) Ava DuVernay Has Multi-Episode TV Series on "Black Experience in America" in the Works Ava DuVernay Has Multi-Episode TV Series on "Black Experience in America" in the Works Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood Preview: Jessica Williams of 'The Daily Show' Makes Leading Lady Debut in 'Tap Shoes & Violins' Preview: Jessica Williams of 'The Daily Show' Makes Leading Lady Debut in 'Tap Shoes & Violins' '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic The Best of Black Television in 2014 The Best of Black Television in 2014 Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) 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...

'Life After Death' (Conflicting Portrait of Present-day Rwandan Youth) Heading to 50th Chicago Int'l Film Fest

Shadow and Act By Sergio | Shadow and Act August 26, 2014 at 5:44PM

Am I just being sensitive or does this new documentary sound like it could have some problems?
2
Life After Death

I’m not going to lie and tell you upfront that this new documentary, "Life After Death" - one of first films announced to be screened at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival (Oct 9-23) - doesn't have me (how shall I say) rather concerned.

The film, by director Joe Callander, which was shown in May at the Little Rock Film Festival, and The Brooklyn Academy of the Arts in June, follows a young man named Kwasa, who’s a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and, with his best friend, is scraping by, trying to make it day by day. However, when he comes into contact with a white American evangelical Christian philanthropic couple, seeking to help those less fortunate in Africa, he basically cons and uses them for his own gain, while the couple “turn a blind eye to his puckish scheming and unrepentant carousing."

See what I mean? Sounds like there might be some problems here... Is Kwasa a troubled young man struggling under the weight of a traumatic history? Or is he just another hustler who sees a chance to milk "Western kindness" for all he can?

Now I can’t say for sure, since I haven’t seen the film yet, and the trailer below doesn’t give any real sense of what the film is like, except that Callander seems to be going for some sort of comic, off-beat, quirky vibe.

In a past interview director Callander gave at the Little Rock Film Festival (where the film screened earlier this year), he did say that what drew him to this story was that, while he was in Rwanda doing some filming on another project, he met Kwasa, calling him outrageous, hilarious and outgoing, which apparently wasn't what he expected to find in the people in Rwanda. Callander said that he was drawn to Kwasa and his best friend Fils immediately and became obsessed with telling what he felt was a kind of story he hadn’t seen come out of Rwanda before - essentially, a present day portrait of a generation of people in their early 20′s who were born into the most horrific of events.

And when asked what he hopes audiences will take from the film, Callander said: "I hope they leave smiling and with a full heart, talking about all the strange and wonderful characters they’ve just spent 75 minutes with, and maybe wondering how life can be so exhilarating, absurd, hilarious, and horrific, all at the same time."

We’ll have to wait and see. 

Here’s the trailer:


This article is related to: Joe Callander, Festival Dispatch


Shadow & ActNewsletter