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Sing Freetown documentary review


Directed by: Clive Patterson

Starring: Sorious Samura, Charlie Haffner

Film Review by: Vikas Yadav


Sing, Freetown Documentary Review

You may know Sorious Samura, a Sierra Leonean journalist, from his two documentary films called Cry Freetown and Exodus from Africa. He is regarded as one of his nation’s most celebrated TV journalists. For two decades, Samura reported stories about Africa, and they were largely negative. There was war, Ebola, fatal natural disasters, and many more disturbing incidents that began to shadow Africa with clouds of misery. Samura could not bear to see his country falling under the consensus of suffering. So he decided to collaborate with his best friend and playwright Charlie Haffner to produce a play depicting the positive aspects of his country.

He is worried that many young people of Africa have no knowledge about their rich history. Haffner blames the West for this ignorance. Young Africans try to adapt to the lifestyle of the West and turn away from their own culture. As someone says, if the elders die without educating their children, then who will carry the tradition forward to the next generation? Samura wants to tackle this problem and believes his objective could be achieved using the power of art. “Mr. Charlie Haffner, we are charging you with the responsibility to take us further. Let us know who we are,” he says to his friend.

The intentions are in the right place, but in the end, it’s a task, and a task is rarely achieved sans hassles. Writing a script is no child’s play, and even though Haffner comes with certain experiences, he struggles to develop something as small as a synopsis for a long time. Naturally, this vexes Samura as he faces sleepless nights. As the premiere day approaches closer and closer, tension erupts between Samura and Haffner. Forget the play; will their friendship survive under this pressure?

I am having a good time with the documentaries. I recently saw the Van Gogh documentary Sunflowers, and now this. My main pleasure comes not only from learning something new from these films, but I love how passionate the people are in these movies. It’s stimulating to see the enthusiasm of the people in Sing, Freetown, who really value their tradition and want to keep it alive. You see a fire burning inside Samura, and you realize how much this play means to him. Sing, Freetown rightly prioritizes the men’s ardor over their personality. You may not end up knowing them personally, but you cognize their determination.

Warning: There are graphic videos here that some viewers may find disturbing.

In Cinemas From Fri 25 June



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