APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 4: Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (2015)

What does Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai mean?

Rain the Color of Blue with A Little Red In It.

And even though Prince asked us to “reach out for something new,” this movie — based on the life of famous musician Mdou Moctar — is also a homage to Prince’s first movie. But yet it emerges as a truly unique piece of cinema all its own.

The amazing book How the World Remade Hollywood explains how the music of Sub-Saharan Africa moved from one phone at a time via MP3 and bluetooth, including the fusion of traditional Tuareg guitar music with modern amplification. In Niger, where this movie was made, this so-called desert blues found a home.

Christopher Kirkley, who traveled this region to discover its music found parallels between Moctar and Prince. This allowed him to imagine a Purple Rain that retains the family struggles while also understanding that the audience was mostly Muslim, so Prince’s sexuality would be toned down.

Made with no trained actors, this film is truly all about the music. Moctar started playing on a guitar he built out of wood and bicycle cables. If music is truly universal — I believe that it is — the sheer fact that this film can transplant Minnesota to Agadez should make you realize that we aren’t all that different.

After all, Prince also sang:

“Make believe U’re a hero, make believe U’re a star
Make believe that U’re somebody instead of who U really are
Make believe
It’s only a movie.”

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