I came across this short film late last year when it got screened at the 4th Lights, Camera, Africa! Film Festival in Lagos. There are many films I loved but this is the one whose images replay in front of my eyes when I’m staring out the window. Also, ‘B for Boy’, but that deserves its own separate post.
The stories of Kwaku Ananse, or simply, Anansi, originated from the Ashanti people of Ghana. Anansi is a spider that also appears as a man. According to Wikipedia, Kwaku Anansi was the first Spider-man.
This 2013 film was directed by Ghanaian Akosua Adoma Owusu (go black girl power!) and it’s won a number of awards. In the film, the folklore is combined with the story of Nyan who returns to Ghana to attend her dad’s funeral – at some point, she leaves the funeral and goes into the woods/spirit world to look for her father. The film is said to be semi-autobiographical and Akosua says this about her inspiration:
The particular story that interested me was about Ananse believing that he is the wisest man on earth and wants no one else to possess wisdom, except for him. So, he traps all of the wisdom in the world within a pot and tries to hide it at the top of the tallest tree on earth. The story’s moral is that no one should think that they are wiser than everyone, as they are ultimately foolish for doing so.
More than the story, the cinematography of this film is amazing. My eyes kept widening and deepening to accommodate the visual complexities. This film had me thirsting to visit Ghana, to learn more of their fables and also to pick up a camera and go make a video at Erin Ijesha Waterfalls because that’s something else Akosua excelled at doing – transforming a well-known, over-photographed part of Ghana into a magical wonderland I couldn’t get enough of.
Watch the trailer now:
..and sometime this weekend, put your feet up for a bit and watch the full 26-min film.