Thursday, September 12, 2019

Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow's ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE offers some hot animation inspired by the cold war

Just the other day TrustMovies was wondering how many of us are all that familiar with British history, let alone with that of our own USA. And now here we are getting a good chunk of the history of the African country of Angola, which was, until winning its independence from Portugal in 1975, one of the many "colonized" African countries. That independence led to a decades-long struggle between the ruling party, the MPLA (supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba) and an insurgent group (UNITA) supported by the United States and South Africa. Yes, that ever-famous/infamous Cold War was full-swing in Angola, just as it was in so many other places around the globe.

The new combination-animated/live-action movie, ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE, is based upon the eponymously titled book by Ryszard Kapuściński, a noted Polish journalist/ photographer/poet/author.

If the story of a hugely difficult independence, mass killings and yet another nasty product of that seemingly endless (and maybe starting up all over again) cold war would seem to be an odd choice for animation, think again.

The film's directors (and co-writers), Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow (pictured at left, with de la Fuente on the right), do full justice to Kapuściński's penchant for poetry and reportage.

The animation (above and below) is by turns beautiful, poetic, impressionistic and horrific -- as befits the story here told. Further, the animation and story are very well complemented by the use of live-action documentary footage in which a few of the true-life characters we meet are shown to us now, some forty years on, in old age.

The back and forth between animation and live-action is never jarring however; instead, it flows as easily as do the assorted moods, images and characters woven through the story. We meet everyone from our protagonist's fellow reporters and a gorgeous female rebel-in-chief (below)

to the famous hero-of-the-revolution, Farrusco (below), who oddly proves the film's most surprising and poignant creation, and some of the students Kapuściński teaches back home in Poland,

one of whom (below) poses a question to his instructor that lingers for good reason. The film is full of ideas, as well as visual appeal.

Given all we now know about our own country's involvement in the overthrow of numerous democratically elected foreign governments, as well as its happily propping up just about any bloody dictatorship, so long as that dictator says he's anti-Communist, what we see here will seem pretty much par for the course. (Except, of course, for the people of the foreign country in question.)

While the use of live-action in tandem with animation proves consistently compelling, Another Day of Life reaches its zenith at the end, as the credits roll and we learn more about Kapuściński, his life and work. The film is, deservedly, a paean meant to honor this man. It thoroughly does.

GKIDS will release the movie -- a Poland/Spain/Germany/Belgium/ Hungary/France co-production running 85 minutes, in English, Portuguese, Polish and Spanish (with English subtitles as needed) -- this Friday, September 13, in New York City (at the IFC Center) and Los Angeles (at Laemmle's Glendale).

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