Hull Literature Festival 2001 8th - 18th November
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African Visions
Yeelen (18)
Hull Screen, Hull Central Library
As reviewed by: Charlotte Louise Conroy 17 , Wyke College, Hull
Thursday, 15 November

The movie starts off as a young man looks into what appears to be a bowl of water. He continues to stir it and spit in it as a face appears. This is the opening sequence in which we learn the plot. This young man and his mother are afraid of the Father of the family who it seems wants to kill him. Just with the bowl of water we are shown that this story is based around magic and trust.

The entire film focuses on this young man "Nianankoro" searching for his Uncle - his father's 'twin' brother - who is said to be able to help him in his quest. The whole point of the story shows us that the father 'Soma' wants to stop his son using powers for unjust ways, when in fact it is the father who is misusing his own power. The 'magic post' helps him as his guide. Throughout the film we see "Nianankoro" in many situations, in particular helping people by using his powers. The magic shown not only makes the audience think about what is going on but makes them laugh too. Once into the film the subtitles become unnoticeable and some points are explained to the audience just with the acting. This film may not appeal to the younger generation because of its origin, background and subtitles. However, given a chance the film could be very entertaining for many generations.

"Yeelen" is a well thought out film, well structured and well understood considering the nature of its content. It's a story of family, religious and cultural loyalty and of courage and bravery which unites the most magical power of all - love for one another.

Awards: Cannes Film Festival 1987

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