Coming to theatres today, Wednesday, October 10:
Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp
Los Angeles 2017
BFI London, Mill Valley, Citizen Jane, Durban, Hot Springs Doc, Denver, Bahamas, Palm Springs, Oxford, Southern Circuit, Toronto Black, Zagreb Dox, Miami, NY Children’s, Ashland, Cleveland, Montclair, NY African, Blackstar
Swaziland orphans collectively create an adventure folk tale.
The Kopps’ film centers on a storytelling workshop run by Gcina Mhlophe at a rural home for orphans. Drawing from their own harrowing experiences, several of the young residents develop the titular character, and spin her narrative, one involving starkly realistic travails like violence and HIV, the death of the heroine’s parents, and an adventure to rescue her brothers from kidnappers. As they tell the camera their story, the very cute kids often ham it up, while semi-animated sequences (sort of) bring Liyana’s adventure’s to life – the effect, even if deliberate, is not wholly successful and seems unfinished. The film’s approach to covering otherwise wellworn and dark territory is certainly creative, though a little of this goes a long way, and the filmmakers don’t complete trust in the audience to fill in the blanks themselves.