The documentary, Beats of the Antonov, by war reporter and director Hajooj Kuka gives us a glimpse at "how cultural heritage and creative traditions can defy the indignity of displacement". Since 2014, these people have had to move to refugee camps, and hideouts up in the mountains in order to find shelter from air raids, using Russian-made Antonov planes, led by the Sudanese government. Said raids target everyone regardless of identity, sex, or culture.
What is really poignant and enlightening in Beats of the Antonov is the presence of music, as a main part of how the those living in these two regions cope with the raids, the displacement, the on-going civil war. I especially like hearing the women sing Girls' Music, as it is described in the film. It is quite interesting to see how all people rely on music as a form of expression, celebration, and survival in these areas.
Listening to the music and songs, enhanced by interviews with everyday people, rebels, and others, gives this film a less negative tone. This does not lessen the seriousness of the subject, however. Questions around identity, culture, religion, and tradition have been fueling this war for years. Kuka strings together the various issues at hand through music, visuals, and words, while presenting us with the reality that is for those in Northern Sudan today. For those of you interested in films with a political and sociological relevance, I recommend this documentary.
Beats of the Antonov plays one last time at TIFF tonight, September 11th, 9pm at Jackman Hall inside the Art Gallery of Ontario. For tickets and more info, click here.