Time Out São Paulo

Africa United: review

Africa United: review

Opens 9 Dec 2011

Director Debs Gardner-Paterson

Cast Eriya Ndayambaje, Roger Nsengiyumva, Sanyu Joanita Kintu

An inferior, kiddie spin on the exotic high jinks and low lives of Slumdog Millionaire, this well-meaning but scrappy British film was shot entirely on location in Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa and could be subtitled Five Go Footie Mad in Africa.

It tells of a fictional road trip from Rwanda to the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg by five African youngsters of different backgrounds (one is middle class, one an ex-child soldier, one a sex worker) and demands that you come to it with a good heart, as most adults will find its caricatures and whiz-bang bonhomie hard to stomach.

The makers do their best to paper over an undemanding script with bouncy music and quick cuts, and you have to admire the young actors’ spirited acting and the film’s willingness to place HIV in the foreground. Eriya Ndayambaje as the bubbly, metaphor-mixing (‘The world is your ostrich!’) leader of the pack is especially fun and the landscapes are enticing. 

By Dave Calhoun


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