Starring guitarist Mdou Moctar, Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (English: “Rain the Color of Blue with a little Red in it”) is a feature length fiction film, shot entirely in Agadez, Niger with a local cast and crew. Akounak tells the universal story of a musician trying to make it “against all odds,” set against the backdrop of the raucous subculture of Tuareg guitar. The protagonist, real life musician Mdou Moctar, must battle fierce competition from jealous musicians, overcome family conflicts, and endure the trials of love – all while coming to terms with one of the biggest barriers: himself.
The Tuaregs (or Kel Tamashek) are an ethnic and language group of traditionally nomadic people in the Sahara desert. Tuareg guitar music (“ishumar guitar”) or so-called “desert blues” (popularized in the West through groups like Tinariwen and Bombino) began over thirty years ago as a folk expression of political rebellion. Today the style has become the de facto music of the desert. While the subject has been explored in documentary features, these are almost always aimed at Western audiences and betray a sensationalist tilt, focusing on the origins of the “rebel music” and not the contemporary subculture (a narrative reinvigorated by the ongoing crisis in the North of Mali).
Akounak is not a documentary, but a stylized fictional tale with a story developed by Tuareg youth, written and produced for a Tuareg audience. Stylistically based on the model of Western rock-u-drama, the story has been written from the common experiences faced by Mdou and fellow musicians. The goal is to create a compelling story that is relevant and watchable by the Tuareg community. Most importantly, Akounak will be the first fiction film ever shot in the Tuareg language. Subtitles will be available in English and French.
Both a homage to Purple Rain and The Harder They Come, Akounak is based on the universal hero, the struggle of a musician to overcome a series of conflicts. In execution, many techniques have been adapted from the Poverty Row, Italian Neo-Realism, and the experimental films of Jean Rouch, in particular Moi, Un Noir.
1.27GB | 1h 14mn | 1280×720 | mkv