|DVD Africa United
Run time: 88 min
Genres: Adventure | Comedy | Drama
Director: Debs Paterson
Writers: Rhidian Brook
Stars: Eriya Ndayambaje, Roger Jean Nsengiyumva, Sanyu Joanita Kintu
The extraordinary story of three Rwandan kids who walk 3000 miles to the Soccer World Cup in South Africa. Using a sack load of ingenuity and sass (and a World Cup wall chart for a map), our pint-sized protagonists set off through the endless horizons of Africa in pursuit of an unlikely dream. And as they walk they gather a tribe – a ragamuffin team – of broken and brilliant characters who help them negotiate a way through a series of glorious, dangerous, hilarious and often bizarre situations. Through these kids, we will encounter an Africa few people ever get to see; experience the hard reality of an epic walk through seven countries; as well as the joy, laughter and hope – ‘the ubuntu’ – that comes from making an incredible journey together. Written by Rhidian Brook
|Plot Keywords: africa, journey, soccer, world cup, police sergeant|
Country: UK, South Africa, Rwanda
Release Date: 22 October 2010 (UK)
Opening Weekend: £177,827 (UK) (22 October 2010)
Gross: £545,556 (UK) (29 October 2010)
Africa United is a joyful, winning film that manages to entertain (people were laughing and crying in the theatre) whilst raising serious issues with a light, humorous touch. It's weaknesses (a slight amateurish quality and hurried pace) are more than balanced by its strengths. It looks and sounds authentically African and what it lacks in sophistication it makes up for with wit, charm and emotion. The slight madcap style is enhanced by the story within the story and a terrific soundtrack. In the end it gives a voice to young, black Africans and shows us an Africa few will ever get to see. It's being called the Africa Slumdog; but whilst it may not have the slick bravura of that film, it has more heart, humour and maybe integrity.
With a caste of brilliant young actors, this movie manages to walk the incredibly difficult tightrope between hopeless grim reality of life for many in Africa and the superficial heartwarming scenes of kids overcoming hardships.
The rhythm of the movie is perfect and the child's voice is authentically maintained.
I saw this at TIFF with 8 and 13 year old boys and 10 and 13 year old girls. They all loved it and want to see it again. The older crowd was equally enthusiastic.
This movie deserves the widest possible distribution. If I was still teaching high school, I would find an excuse to show it to everyone of my classes and try to get a screening for the whole school.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of 'Africa United'. Full of energy, humour, colour, passion – it kept me hooked from start to finish. I laughed many times, and ended with a slightly moist eye that I had to hastily conceal from my partner sitting next to me.
The film received a 5-minute standing ovation at the end.
I think first and foremost this is a family film. It's not a forensic study of Africa's social or political problems, nor is it a realistic portrayal of the everyday lives of ordinary Africans. Critics complaining about this seem to have missed the point.
It's a road movie about the passion and courage of young people. It's magical, like a fairy story. The fact that it's set in Africa enriches this sense of magic – and offers interesting opportunities to explore difficult issues in the context of a family movie. But it's not a commentary on Africa – it's about a group of young people who do something extraordinary in an extraordinary place.
The fact that it breaks film-making barriers in Africa (first feature to be filmed in Burundi etc), but keeps its focus firmly on drama and adventure rather than social commentary makes it a very unique 'African' film.
I will certainly watch again because it made me laugh and cry. And surely that's enough for any film, irrespective of where it's set.
I loved every minute of this fantastic film! It is packed full of energy, passion and adventure brought together by an inspiring young cast and brilliant soundtrack.
As a former resident of Kigali and visitor to many of the places on route, I enjoyed the beautifully shot footage of stunning Africa and felt transported back to the energy of the places I visited and people I met.
The child actors were excellent, telling big stories with a striking honesty and simplicity. I laughed out loud at Dudu's one liners and wiped away a tear as George's story unfolded. A truly brilliant movie and one I will be talking about for a long time to come. My nephews will love it and my friends will love it, it is a film that spans the generations and offers something fun, engaging and insightful for everyone.