Review: ‘Anansi’

Reggae artist Shaggy's "Why Me Lord" on the soundtrack of contempo African immigrant drama "Anansi" underscores pic's poignant plea for strength and understanding.

Reggae artist Shaggy’s “Why Me Lord” on the soundtrack of contempo African immigrant drama “Anansi” underscores pic’s poignant plea for strength and understanding. Though dramatically uneven, “Anansi’s’ serious issues and crisp tech package make it a natural for specialized and general fests alike, with more ancillary attention than theatrical prospects in the cards.

Enticed by the promises of the West, four Ghanian friends set out on an arduous journey for a better life in Germany. Chief among them is Zaza (local soap opera star George Quaye), whose nervous bravery in the face of the unknown is both touching and inspirational. And it becomes a dangerous trip: Set adrift from the German freighter which they had sneaked onto, they wash up on a beach and wander through a desert before passing Bedouins take them to Tangiers. From there, it’s Spain and finally Berlin, though not all the travelers make it to freedom. Teuton helmer Fritz Baumann and his crew have assembled a fine tech package, with striking international locations balancing some pacing problems in the third act. Title creature is a cherished mythical spider that reps perseverance.

Anansi

Germany

Production

An Avista Film, Brainpool TV, Calypso production. (International sales: Cinepool/Telepool, Munich.) Produced by Alena and Herbert Rimbach. Directed, written by Fritz Baumann.

Crew

Camera (color), Arturo Smith; editor, Christian Lonk; music, Roman Bunka; production designer, Carsten Lippstock. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (African Horizons), Aug. 30, 2002. (Also in Munich Film Festival.) Ghanian, German & Spanish dialogue. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

George Quaye, Naomie Harris, Jimmy Akingbola, Maynard Eziashi, Chrys Koomson, Danny Sapani.
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