TIFF REVIEW: ‘Africa United’

Kelly has checked in from Toronto with another review of a festival film:

Africa United

“Make Football, Not War”

Africa United tells the story of three Rwandan kids who decided to make their way to South Africa for the World Cup. Dudu, the scrappy leader of the group and his sister Beatrice, an aspiring doctor, and their friend Fabrice, an amateur football player, get detoured along the way and of course, hi-jinx ensure.  What sets this film apart from your typical childhood adventure is the fact that these are children who have seen things we can’t even imagine.  For starters, the siblings are street kids who were orphaned due to AIDS, adding to the fact that they are growing up with the memories of the genocide. Running from the children’s army kidnappers in the Congo, encounters with jaguars and lions, a brief stop at a hospital, and getting tested for HIV to raise money, are just some of the situations they find themselves in along the way.

Debs Gardner-Paterson, delivers a solid first feature film, with a great cast of child actors, many whom are from Rwanda. It was shot on location in Rwanda, South Africa and the first movie to be shot in Burundi, all of which lend their vibrant cultures and landscapes to the film.  The film was geared towards a family friendly audience, with everyone speaking English and a cute and well-executed animated story told by Dudu throughout the film, but does touch on real Third World issues that could be beyond the understanding of most North American children.

Verdict: A good first feature. If you’ve spent time in Africa, particularly with children, you’re probably going to cry…..a lot.

Check out the trailer for the film below and be sure to send Kelly your thoughts!


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