Movies are getting rebooted and remade all the time, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that there’s a new take on Prince’s 1984 classic, Purple Rain.
Nigeria, which has a massive domestic music scene (it is the most populous country in Africa, after all), seemed to be the right place for local director Christopher Kirkley to adapt Purple Rain for a West African audience. They called their film Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai, which translated means “Rain the colour of blue with a little red in it.” Purple, in other words. Here’s a summary:
Like the lone, nameless gunslinger in a Sergio Leone western, the central character in Kirkley’s film, musician Mdou Moctar, travels through the desert with a guitar instead of a rifle or Colt 45. And instead of a horse, he rides a motorcycle… a purple one. The gunslinger analogy is apt because guitar players in Agadez and surrounding areas battle among themselves to gain status as the fastest gun in the west, with six strings replacing six bullets.
The combination of Moctar’s live performances, the otherworldly beauty of the Sahara, Jeremy Fino’s luminous cinematography and Kirkley’s intimate and supple style of direction make Anounak one of those rare fictional films about music that has the pulse of real life and the resonance of great art.
Er, okay. Here’s a sample.