For obvious reasons, opening films tend to attract a lot of attention in every film festival. Mah Saah-Sah by Daniel Kamwa a Cameroonian director was no exemption. But was it worth? May be, may be not. In my case, I felt thrown back into the eighties when Africa was still discoursing on the place of modernity against traditions something that the continent seems to have gotten over long since.
Set in a vibrant rural village where traditional African dances and other rites are still observed, the feel nice film is a chronological story of a poor boy who falls in love with a girl. He meets several hurdles he must deal with first before dreaming of winning. Its story of a new order challenging status quo in the sense of traditions.
like many ordinary stories that litter African cinema today, the drama is not very intense. The poor boy triumphs in seduction dance, catches the bracelet from the muddle to impress the lady and the parents and eventually manages to nab the girl from the altar where she has been dragged by an old wealthy man.
Though there is nothing startling about the storyline, the film achieves one feat: it archives important traditional ethos that have been disappearing before the apparent wind of contemporary trends sweeping across the continent blows them off. The virtue of wedding rituals and order of things.
Borrowing heavily from television vocabulary- too much talking that characterize most African rituals - the film drags in some instances. This leaves the imagination wandering, even switched off completely in some extreme instances.
Interesting are instances where the camera chooses colorful dances, takes a rare position to add motion.
By Mwenda wa Micheni
Director: Daniel Kamwa
Running time: 91 mins
Language: Bamun with French sub-tittles