Beats of the Antonov
2014 / Arabic with English subtitles / Documentary / 1h5m mins
Director: Hajooj Kuka
Producer: Sudan/South Africa
A music movement is at the core of this engaging and unsettling documentary from war reporter Hajooj Kuka. Telling the story of the Sudanese populations of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions this concentrated documentary feature reveals, and revels in, the cultural production and societal organisation of these people. The film is structured around the daily bombing runs carried out by the Sudanese government in Khartoum. The bombing runs utilise Russian Antonov cargo-carriers to try to blast these ‘rebels’ out of existence. However, such tactics have only further reinforced a determination to preserve a specifically African culture that is viewed as under threat. Sarah Mohamed, an ethnomusicologist, features prominently as a guide to the various music forms that have sprung up around the impromptu celebrations staged after each bombing run. These are celebrations of life as much as culture.