Saturday, 3 July 2010

Soulboy/Soul Boy - EIFF - 25/6/10

Two films with similar names.

Two very different experiences.

Soul Boy (directed by Hawu Essuman and Tom Tykwer) tells the tale of fourteen year old Abila who lives in a slum in East Africa. When he discovers his father lying on the floor of their shack he assumes that he is simply hung over from a nights drinking. What his father tells him is that a local witch has stolen his soul and that he is going to die. Abila heads off to confront the witch and win his fathers soul back.

What follows is an African "Stand By Me" with a bit of voodoo thrown in for good measure.

This film was the result of a project to get African communities involved in making films and "Soul Boy" provides a great example of what can be achieved with a good idea, some guidance and some enthusiasm.

SoulBoy tells the story of the Northern Soul phenomenom that gripped thousands of teenagers in the UK in the nineteen seventies. With an obsessive devotion to rare soul records, dancing and clothes it was the bastard child of the Mod movement of the sixties.

Here Joe (Martin Comptson) falls for Northern Soul girl Jane (Nichola Burley) and in order to impress her makes his way to the Mecca of the scene...the Wigan Casino where the infamous all nighters are held from 2am until 8am. Along the way he discovers a real love for the music and the dancing as well as who it is that he really loves...oh, I can hear you all already giving it big licks about lacking originality and being formulaic. You might have a point but I'm a sucker for British subcultures and the Northern Soul scene is one of the great lost youth movements, it's good to see it getting a run out on the big screen.

Like "Quadrophenia" being spliced with "Billy Elliot" this is a movie with some laughs, some good performances (keep an eye out for Jo Hart who was last seen playing Shauns mum in "This Is England") and some hand clappin', foot stompin', funky butt shakin' music in the soundtrack.

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