“Sia: The Myth of the Python” is a disappointingly mediocre feature from Burkina Faso which attempts to recall the magic and regality of an ancient African legend but which gets bogged down in a lethargic and somewhat amateurish production.
Sia is a young girl designated by the hooded oracles of a despotic kingdom to be the sacrificial offering to the Python-God, a local deity who supposedly grants good fortune to the land in exchange for an occasional virgin. Sia’s parents are to be compensated for their daughter’s sacrifice with a gift of gold equivalent to Sia’s weight. Sia, however, decides to upset tradition by running away. Chaos ensues in the girl’s absence and the local dictator begins arresting everyone in sight with the vain hope that someone will know her whereabouts. Meanwhile, the head of the army calls for his nephew (who happens to be Sia’s fiancee) to return home so he can help track down the runaway and push the ceremony back on track.
“Sia: The Myth of the Python” has almost nothing go for it. The acting is uniformly weak and frequently embarrassing and filmmaker Dani Kouyate never manages to create the sufficient level of emotional tension and intellectual excitement required for a story of this caliber. The unpleasant misuse of military and police power displayed in this ancient tale clearly has parallels with contemporary African politics, but little opportunity is given to address this train of thought to its fullest.
African cinema is such a rare commodity in the theatrical distribution patterns that one would love to recommend “Sia: The Myth of the Python” as a jewel in an underappreciated section of the global cinema. Unfortunately, the film is so weak and forgettable that the only notable aspect surrounding it was its semi-miraculous ability to find a way out of Africa.