Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Scientific Accuracy in Film - Neil deGrasse Tyson Reacts to Negative Reactions to His Reviews of Science Fiction Films Scientific Accuracy in Film - Neil deGrasse Tyson Reacts to Negative Reactions to His Reviews of Science Fiction Films 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... BET Unveils 2015-2016 Slate Additions: New Original Scripted & Unscripted Series, Movies, News Specials & More BET Unveils 2015-2016 Slate Additions: New Original Scripted & Unscripted Series, Movies, News Specials & More Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney Will Return to 'Gotham' Streets with a New Look & Tougher Than Ever Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney Will Return to 'Gotham' Streets with a New Look & Tougher Than Ever Mo'Nique Presents Email Evidence That Shows She Was in Contention for the Role of Cookie in 'Empire' Mo'Nique Presents Email Evidence That Shows She Was in Contention for the Role of Cookie in 'Empire' Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library In May Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library In May James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Will Share a Stage Again in a Revival of 'The Gin Game' James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Will Share a Stage Again in a Revival of 'The Gin Game' Watch: Michael Jackson’s Movie Career Summed Up in 7 Minutes Watch: Michael Jackson’s Movie Career Summed Up in 7 Minutes Watch First Trailer for 'Desperate Housewives - Africa' + Individual Character Profiles Watch First Trailer for 'Desperate Housewives - Africa' + Individual Character Profiles Watch Trailer for Jordan Davis Documentary, '3 1/2 Minutes.' Coming to HBO This Fall Watch Trailer for Jordan Davis Documentary, '3 1/2 Minutes.' Coming to HBO This Fall Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Will Open Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Will Open Trailer: Pilot Project 'First Gen' (The Trials and Tribulations of Being a First Gen Nigerian-American) Trailer: Pilot Project 'First Gen' (The Trials and Tribulations of Being a First Gen Nigerian-American) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) 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 Whoopi Goldberg & Daughter Alex Martin Enter Reality TV Series Ring Whoopi Goldberg & Daughter Alex Martin Enter Reality TV Series Ring 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...

Tribeca 2012 Review - Kenya-Set "Wavumba" Is A Dreamy Homage To The Filmmaker's Youth

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 26, 2012 at 12:48PM

A film that's maybe more about mood and setting than narrative, Wavumba, from Ductch filmmaker Jeroen van Velzen, is a beautiful homage to a place and time - memories of the filmmaker's childhood, spent in coastal Kenya, steeped in mysticism, and driven by the tale of a single fisherman, Mohammed Masoud Muyongo, a legend of shark fishing, a man who proudly wears his scars as proof of decades spent clashing with subaquatic adversaries, and his resigned grandson, as they take to the seas in search of one final mighty capture.
3
wavumba

A film that's maybe more about mood and setting than narrative, Wavumba, from Ductch filmmaker Jeroen van Velzen, is a beautiful homage to a place and time - memories of the filmmaker's childhood, spent in coastal Kenya, steeped in mysticism, and driven by the tale of a single fisherman, Mohammed Masoud Muyongo, a legend of shark fishing, a man who proudly wears his scars as proof of decades spent clashing with subaquatic adversaries, and his resigned grandson, as they take to the seas in search of one final mighty capture.

For much of the film, the audience accompanies the septuagenarian Masoud (who's glory days officially behind him, but intent on defying age) and his brawny grandson (contrasting Masoud’s rather frail frame) for a ride on an old, small flat-bottomed boat, as the pair squabble (grandfather rebuking grandson; grandson stoic and patient) while paddling, hunting for the kind of colossal game that helped cement the old man’s reputation as a big-game fisherman.

Interject Masoud’s various recollections of his glory days – boastful, fantastical tales that both sadden and enthrall – and you’ve got a film that moves along more like a dream, as memories collide with reality, supported by the haunting sound design and intervals of Kenyan narrators sharing fables about spirits of the sea and buried worlds.

The surfaces blur enough that you just might even start to question the reality of the tale that’s unfolding in front of you, as well as Masoud’s lucidity; but he proves his ability eventually, demonstrating surprising dexterity in a somewhat ritualistic, sacred act.

For director Velzen, Masoud (his personal struggles and his relation to this magical place he takes the viewer on a ride through) is like the personification of Velzen’s dreams, unrealized.

Wavumba (translated as "They Who Smell of Fish") is like a Kenyan version of the Old Man and the Sea story realized on film, with its allures, including its moving hero and captivating images.

I have these jumbled-up fantasies from when I was a child, and I wanted to re-grasp that sensation and have the viewer feel it… I listened to all these stories and mixed them together with memories I had, and hoped for a romantic story to be unveiled,” Velzen says.

Romantic in the sense that it’s idealistic, dreamy, quixotic; while it'll likely test the patience of some (your appreciation for the work will depend greatly on your appreciation for Masoud and his stories of glory days past), it's a boat ride worth taking.


Shadow & ActNewsletter