Aargh! I certainly didn't expect to exit a screening of Lars Von Trier's latest exercise in misery (Melancholia, which I'm still trying to reach some conclusion on, and will review later) to find this on my virtual desk.
Alright, alright... I'm officially calling for an end to knee-jerk 2011. I haven't seen the film yet, so I'm going solely on what I see in the trailer below, the synopsis, and the fact that history just isn't on the side of these, broadly-speaking, "white man in Africa" movies. And the fact that it co-stars an actor I respect in Isaach de Bankole certainly helps.
Previously titled Oka Amerikee, and now titled simply Oka! its synopsis reads:
The forest dwelling tribe of Bayaka pygmies is famed for its acute hearing ('Oka!' means 'listen!" in their Akka language).When the tribe's revered leader hears a menacing new sound in the forest, his super-sensory powers send a message to "Big Ear," his ethnomusicologist friend Larry Whitman (Kris Marshall, Love Actually), from his sickbed in New Jersey.Against doctor's orders, Larry travels to his friends in Central Africa to help them battle Mayor Bassoun (Isaach de Bankole,The Limits of Control), a powerful local politician who is helping Mr. Yi (Will Yun Lee, Die Another Day), a developer with a logging company intent on destroying the Bayaka's forest home. Refusing to give in, Larry and the pygmies humorously concoct a series of obstacles to try to prevent the loggers, all while continuing to enjoy their colorful way of life with music and dance inspired by the beauty of the African forest, its animals and magical spirits.
Got it? Good. The poster calls it "A New African Adventure;" as opposed to one of the older African adventures I guess; I especially liked the one they called "colonization" I think it was.
We wrote about it almost a year ago actually, under its previous name, while it was still on the film festival circuit. This is the first I'm hearing of it since then.
And the main reason I write about it here now is because it has distribution and will be released in theaters on October 14th; first in New York and Los Angeles, and then in San Francisco on October 28th.
The "action-adventure" as it's described is directed by Lavinia Currier, whose past work I'm not at all familiar with.
Here's its brand new theatrical trailer: