Friday, February 02, 2007

I Want to Be a Pilot

2006, Kenya/Mexico/Spain, directed by Diego Quemada-Diez

Filmed in the huge Kibera slum in Nairobi, I Want to Be a Pilot seemed to me to be filling in the gaps left by The Constant Gardener, in which, for all that film's strengths, the shanties are still not the main focus. My impression proved more correct than I expected, since the film was made by a technician on Fernando Meirelles's film. It's an intriguing short, which weaves comments from 50 children into a kind of poem that comes back constantly to the title refrain. The young character at the centre of the film, Omondi, is invisible even in his own slum - passers-by ignore this small boy as he crouches in an alleyway - never mind in the wider world, but the film gives him a voice and a means to convey his hopes, though the child who plays Omondi looks tragically aware of the reality of his situation and of the exceedingly thin thread by which those hopes hang (the film can be seen online).


andyhorbal said...

When I was reading Manohla Dargis' article "Africa, at the Cineplex" today I found myself wondering how Abba Kiarostami's ABC Africa (2001) fit in with what she was saying. Have you read her piece and do you have the same trouble with this film? I've not seen it, so I might be completely off-base...

Gareth said...

I do think that this (brief) film shares at least some of the problems that Dargis outlines in her piece, yes; while on one level it gives a voice to the usually voiceless, it does nonetheless reinforce the sense that Africa has an eternal set of problems, even if that's not necessarily the intention. I wouldn't have been surprised if the film had concluded with an 800 number for me to call and make a donation.


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