Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai
Directed by Christopher Kirkley
w/ Jerome Fino, Mdou Moctar
75 min, HD, 2015
The first ever Tuareg language fictional film, based on the legendary rock-u-drama “Purple Rain,” Akounak or “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it” explores the world of a musician trying to succeed in the raucous subculture of the Niger guitar scene. The protagonist, real life musician Mdou Moctar, must battle fierce competition from jealous musicians, overcome family conflicts, endure the trials of love, and overcome his biggest rival – himself. Carried by stunning musical performances from Mdou, the film is a window into modern day Tuareg guitar and an experiment in participatory ethnographic filmmaking.
Developed and written by Mdou Moctar, Jerome Fino, and Christopher Kirkley and shot over 10 days, the film draws from the stylistic choices of Western film, filtered through a Saharan lens. Borrowing heavily from Purple Rain, Akounak is based on the struggle of a musician as a universal hero, and utilizes these sources while reinterpreting through protagonist Mdou Moctar’s real life experiences. In execution, many techniques have been adapted from the experimental technique of Jean Rouch – in particular, the collaborative nature to produce something that can resonate across both cultures. Akounak is the first feature fiction film in the Tamashek language. The title translates to “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it,” a literal translation of Purple Rain (the Tuareg language has no word for Purple) – a nod to its unlikely origins and the difficulties of translating ideas across cultures.
Akounak has screened at festivals around the world.
In Tamashek, with English/French/Spanish subtitles.