African Giants Image

African Giants

By Ben Shehadi | February 19, 2024

SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2024 REVIEW! Directed and written by Omar S. Kamara, African Giants follows two African American brothers who spend the weekend together in LA. Meet Sheku (Omete Anassi) and Alhaji (Dillon Daniel Mutyaba). Sheku is the younger of the two brothers. He’s studying to become a lawyer at Georgetown University, but he hates it.

For the weekend, Sheku is visiting his older brother Alhaji in LA. Against their father’s wishes, the dreamy-eyed Alhaji is living there to become a famous actor. Alhaji also has a girlfriend named Cori, whom he has dated for seven years and plans to marry soon.

Over the course of their weekend together, we get a deep glimpse into the two brothers’ relationship. Most of the film is just their free-flowing banter. They sit and play games. They eat meals together. They’re just bros hanging out. By observing their conservations, we, the audience, learn everything about their psychology, beliefs, desires, and frustrations—both professionally and personally.

“…follows two African-American brothers who spend the weekend together in LA.”

It is an excellent film on many levels: good acting, a good story, the characters, the soundtrack, and the editing. The complex psychology of the characters is brought to life by the superb acting performances. The soundtrack is a unique fusion of African folk music and Western pop, which reflects the story’s cultural syncretism.

African Giants features many sophisticated themes. We see all kinds of family conflict: brother against brother, father versus son, and even in-law troubles. Beyond personal troubles, there are lots of professional ones. The film explores tough questions about money versus happiness and whether success is a product of hard work or random luck. Culturally, we feel the uncomfortable dissonance between traditional African culture and Westernization. Is it good or bad? What is racism? Is the American Dream real? The film explores all dimensions of such timely debates.

All in all, African Giants is well worth a watch! Well-written, well-acted and well-crafted, it is what a good movie ought to look like. Without any whizz-bang or CGI, the movie still keeps your attention for the better part of two hours. This indie gem easily outcompetes the passionless garbage churned out of today’s Hollywood.

African Giants screened at the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival.

African Giants (2024)

Directed and Written: Omar S. Kamara

Starring: Dillon Daniel Mutyaba, Omete Anassi, Kathleen Kenny, Tanyell, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

African Giants Image

"…What is racism? Is the American Dream real?"

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