Things of the Aimless Wanderer

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(Text taken from the Sundance Festival’s website)

Kivu Ruhorahoza’s arresting feature reveals a series of cryptic and loosely connected narrative shards. Each depicts an uneasy encounter between an African woman and a male figure of authority or menace, be he a nineteenth century white explorer, a twenty-first century Western journalist, or a Rwandan man performing reconnaissance for a shadowy internal agency. In each story, a female figure is an object of lust, surveillance, fascination or violence, inevitably disappearing from the narrative. Every disappearance becomes a sort of chorus, punctuated by enigmatic images and haunting musical soundscapes. Considering the film’s title (“aimless wanderer” originally described hapless European explorers), one might indeed ask whether the female avatar of these stories may be a metaphor for Rwanda itself: colonized, objectified, and struggling to calibrate cultural gains, including gains for women, with reactionary policies and sentiments. Such questions haunt the periphery of this provocative film whose narrative core remains a reservoir of mystery. —S.K.

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