Adanggaman | Chicago Reader

Adanggaman

Set along the west coast of Africa in the late 1600s, this loosely historical drama is purportedly the first film to address the complicity of warring African tribes in the slave trade. Veteran Ivory Coast director Roger Gnoan M'bala pits the rebellious son of a tribal chieftain against the cruel but practical King Adanggaman, who has raided the boy's village, slaughtered his father and girlfriend, and captured other people of the tribe, including his wizened mother, for sale to Europeans. With its abrupt and excessive crosscutting between the two sides, its nostril-flaring performances, and M'bala's penchant for exotic tableaux, this 2000 feature often recalls a silent melodrama, though its rough-hewn quality enhances its raw emotional pull. In Bambara, Baule, and French with subtitles. 90 min.

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