Kini and Adams | Chicago Reader

Kini and Adams

At the geographic and moral center of Idrissa Ouedraogo's earlier films (Yaaba, Tilai) there was always the village. Here there's no village, only a road. On the side of the road is a broken-down jalopy that the title characters dream of fixing up and driving to the city. The dream is an old one—it has defined their relationship for years. It's not a particularly rational or well-thought-out dream, which becomes increasingly evident as it begins to come true. When a local quarry reopens, their lives become a paradox: they get well-paid jobs to make money to fix the car to go to the city so they can get well-paid jobs. As reality sets in and choices have to be made, their friendship begins to unravel, their integrity to falter. Kini and Adams (1997), a Burkina Faso-French-Zimbabwean-English production, made in English with South African actors to reach a larger audience, consciously strives for universality. And there's absolutely nothing simplistic in this powerfully told tale. The cast is magnificent, and it's amazing what beauty can be found in a flat, dusty landscape or in the gray and white stones of a quarry. Yet one misses the unique contours of Ouedraogo's village and the specificity that rooted it so deeply in time and space.


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