The Burial of Kojo ★★½

If I can lead with my most dismissive impulse, this feels like the calling card that will help Bazawule get a yet-better film made. I really dig a lot of the choices here -- even with some overbearing narration this remains an impressively visual-first experience; locking a lot the explicit information of the events of the film behind interpretation and paid attention really sells the limited perspective and understanding of a child; the performances feel very natural in a way that plays well with the two aforementioned bits -- but on the whole it doesn't quite add up to the sum of its parts for me. Some of that feeling is explicitly for what I perceive to be missteps (a somewhat obnoxious score used in a way that feels very lo-budg, some of the camerawork choices feel misjudged esp. the film's propensity for upside-down shots), but mostly I think it's just a certain ramshackle, somewhat scattershot quality belying a first feature film. A lot of the tools are on the table here, though, and I'd sooner bet than not that Bazawule will use them exceptionally in the near future than not.

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