lasthijackComing to DVD today, Tuesday, May 19: LAST HIJACK

Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting’s portrait of a Somali pirate had its world premiere at Berlin last year. It went on to screen at the New York Film Festival, CPH:DOX, Rio, Tempo Doc, Revelation, and Sitges, among others.

One of several recent films, both fiction and nonfiction, focused on the dangerous, desperate piracy taking place in the international waters around East Africa, Pallotta and Wolting’s project is distinguished by its extensive integration of rotoscoped animation, as well as a separate interactive element that allows viewers to inhabit the experiences of Somali pirates. Looking specifically at their standalone documentary, the subject is Mohamed, an Everyman of sorts, scarred by his country’s violent past and willing to take on a dangerous, illegal occupation in pursuit of economic mobility. As the filmmakers follow Mohamed in his daily life, he pledges to stay away from piracy in order to take a new bride. At the same time, the viewer is privy to the knowledge that he has essentially abandoned multiple children from various women with his long-suffering parents, so there’s no reason to believe he’s a changed man – and, in fact, he’s not: Not long into his new marriage, he’s making plans to go back to sea, despite his wife’s promise to divorce him if he does. Periodically, the filmmakers illustrate Mohamed’s background with animation – sometimes effectively, but often superfluously, though an opening sequence, wherein he transforms into an imposing bird of prey that clutches a ship from the ocean, is impressive. Still, the film effectively speaks to Mohamed’s motivations – money, thrills, status – even if it too easily dismisses from consideration the costly – and sometimes deadly – consequences of his actions to hijacking victims.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

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