Clando ★★★★½

Reluctant activist
Becomes an exile of two lands.
Breathe in the textures
"To shoot or not to shoot?"

One of the few truly major and truly original works of contemporary African cinema. While A Screaming Man is pretty damn good, it is certainly codified under the “Cannes aesthetic” that has dominated cinema of the last 20 years. This one has a filmic rhetoric all on its own: playing between the color of bodies, the textures of environment, and a really didactic narrative structure that reminded me of Memento if anything (though five years before it was released). Hugely essential paradigms being played out in the post-colonial stasis and what the hell one does when one feels like an exile in both one’s own country as well as in the West (codified brilliantly via an old folk tale told in voice over). Film never preaches or offers easy answers, instead working through issues via its main character and the various relationships he develops. Offers a nuanced version of politics where everything is set up as a series of games, and even the diaspora powers have set up their own ideology for control, and essentially challenges Western ideology of revolution via a very simple gesture. Watched this under the worst viewing conditions—VHS tape on a 15 inch monitor in a library with all the lights on—grade could jump given a 35mm screening if ever possible.

You can stream it here for $5.