Rotterdam Film Review: ‘Djon África’

9 February 2018

Broadcast

Fiction and documentary mix in the warmhearted story of a young man born in Portugal who goes to Cape Verde in search of his roots.

It takes a film as self-aware, warm and open-hearted as “Djon África” to assuage the vexing concerns that often arise with the new generation of docu-fiction hybrids. Where many directors almost perversely toy with viewers’ inability to distinguish between truth and make-believe, Filipa Reis and João Miller Guerra color those gray spaces of uncertainty with real people whose impact on the fictional narrative adds depth and grace to their story of a young Portuguese man of African descent journeying to Cape Verde in search of his father. Keenly aware of how landscape, language and local customs lure us into feeling part of a culture not entirely our own, the film extends a loving hand to the confused lead character as well as to a nation the Portuguese directors know they ultimately can never approach from the inside. Read the full review on variety here.

Fiction and documentary mix in the warmhearted story of a young man born in Portugal who goes to Cape Verde in search of his roots.

It takes a film as self-aware, warm and open-hearted as “Djon África” to assuage the vexing concerns that often arise with the new generation of docu-fiction hybrids. Where many directors almost perversely toy with viewers’ inability to distinguish between truth and make-believe, Filipa Reis and João Miller Guerra color those gray spaces of uncertainty with real people whose impact on the fictional narrative adds depth and grace to their story of a young Portuguese man of African descent journeying to Cape Verde in search of his father. Keenly aware of how landscape, language and local customs lure us into feeling part of a culture not entirely our own, the film extends a loving hand to the confused lead character as well as to a nation the Portuguese directors know they ultimately can never approach from the inside. Read the full review on variety here.