SF IndieFest: Rain the Color of Blue…

Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (2015), dir. Christopher Kirkley

Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (2015), dir. Christopher Kirkley

Not a bad endorsement for tourism in the Nigerien city of Agadez, if this film – which maneuvers between the real and the fictional – is to be believed. The city seems to teem with talented musicians ready for a jam session with the frequency of a pick-up basketball game at New York’s West 4th courts. All the musicians (easily half the cast) whether amateur, emerging, or established, have incredible natural musical talents as well as a sensitivity for storytelling. Further, their compositions have the feel of authenticity, even as they crib lyrics and snatches of melodies from each other in the service of a major battle of the bands. In some ways, this is not a particularly unusual film: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back with his musical prowess. Son rebels against dad, dad rallies against the immorality of the music scene, son wins dad back with his musical prowess. Like in Purple Rain, the film to which this one pays homage, music (and love) conquer all. But the film’s setting, which honors the love of and talent for playing electric guitar in Tuareg culture, makes for a different and much more mellow experience which reflects some of the culture of gentle camaraderie and fierce competition among the musicians. There are such few fictional films about and for the people of Niger, and you can’t help but groove along to such a rare treat.

Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red in it), dir. Christopher Kirkley, 75 min. 2015. In Tameshek and French. Now playing at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival.

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