One Day in Africa
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A couple of years ago, at the Cleveland International Film Festival, I had the pleasure of screening A Map for Saturday, an entertaining and insightful travel documentary by talented young filmmaker Brook Silva-Braga. So when Brook returned to Cleveland to premiere his second film, One Day in Africa, I was sure to add it to my must-see list.

Like Map, One Day in Africa takes viewers on an eye-opening journey abroad, introducing them to a fascinating group of people along the way. This time, though, they’re not the fun-loving, carefree twenty-somethings who have taken a break from the “Real World” to set out and see the real world; they’re six very different people from six very different places in Africa.

  
 
From Howa, a young wife in a tiny village in Niger, to Titus, an office worker from Kenya, to Saly, a college student in Burkina Faso, the film’s six subjects let Silva-Braga into their lives—and their homes, offices, and classrooms—for a full day. And as they go about their daily routine, travelling to and from work and caring for their families—even as one of the women goes into labor—they open up about their past, their present, their views of the world, and their dreams for the future.

One Day in Africa is a pretty simple, straightforward documentary—but its simplicity makes it all the more powerful. Though Silva-Braga narrates the film, filling in the occasional details, he usually refrains from lecturing his audience. He doesn’t tell you what to think—or how to feel. Instead, he simply states the facts, offers a few observations, and keeps the camera rolling. He lets his subjects speak for themselves. And for that reason, each member of the audience will walk away from the theater having learned a different lesson.

Unfortunately, the film’s premise doesn’t make for the same effortless storytelling found in A Map for Saturday. Instead of flowing naturally from one story to the next, it breaks up the six stories, cutting from one story to the next and back again. The editing is sometimes a bit choppy, jumping from one subject to another as the “day” progresses. But, considering the subject matter, that’s a necessary evil—and it’s all so beautifully filmed that you’ll be willing to overlook a bit of choppy storytelling.

There’s so much to learn from the six fascinating people in Brook Silva-Braga’s One Day in Africa. Some of their stories are heartbreaking. Some are inspiring. And all of them will challenge your way of thinking. So if you have the opportunity to experience One Day in Africa, don’t pass it up.


Ed. Note: For more on One Day in Africa, visit OneDayInAfrica.com.

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