May 31, 2013
Directed by Kibwa Tavares via Factory Fiteen, Jonah is a sentimental story about the past and the future and the waves of hope and disillusionment that two best friends ride over the course of many years. Set in a futuristic coastal town in Africa, Jonah really reminded me of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man And The Sea, which dealt with similar thematic issues. Aside from the refreshingly original setting and the pseudo-scifi elements thrown in, I'd love to see this get adapted into something more long form.
Mbwana and his best friend Juma are two young men with big dreams. These dreams become reality when they photograph a gigantic fish leaping out of the sea and their small town blossoms into a tourist hot-spot as a result. But for Mbwana, the reality isn't what he dreamed – and when he meets the fish again, both of them forgotten, ruined and old, he decides only one of them can survive. Jonah is a big fish story about the old and the new, and the links and the distances between them. A visual feast, shot though with humour and warmth, it tells an old story in a completely new way.