Where Are You Taking Me? 2011
Distributed by Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Produced by Kimikat Productions
Directed by Directed by Kim Takesue
DVD, color, 88 min.
Jr. High - General Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers
Date Entered: 06/28/2012
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Rob Sica, Eastern Kentucky University
Originally commissioned by the Rotterdam International Film Festival’s inaugural Where is Africa? series dedicated to exploring and promoting the state of filmmaking throughout the African continent, Where Are You Taking Me? is a precisely observed, gracefully contemplative, and gently self-reflective portrait of contemporary Uganda by Kimi Takesue, an Asian-American documentarian and teacher of film at Syracuse University. Takesue had no previous experience in Africa before arriving in Uganda, where she was asked to network with local filmmakers and record impressions of her visit to the country in the form of a film. Deploying an observational style devoid of subtitles or voiceover, which makes the viewing experience all the more absorbing, Takesue nevertheless carefully provides opportunities for viewers to consider both their own and the director’s separate but overlapping relations as viewers to the people in the film at moments when they gaze at camera and, outside the frame, Takesue.
Beginning in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala, Takesue applies her seamless combination of stylization and naturalism to a diverse variety of activities and events extending out from the urban center to rural village life. Highlights include an opulent, upper-class wedding, a women’s weightlifting competition, an outdoor marketplace, a flour-processing facility, a Fundamentalist Christian church service, a kickboxing school, a film set on location at a stone quarry, a youth center where students are learning breakdancing, and a video hall where a Bruce Lee film is translated live for an audience of children by a young man. In the especially moving second half of the film, children become the central focus as Takesue shifts her attention Hope North School, a community center in northern Uganda where child refugees and orphans, many of whom were forced to become soldiers during the brutal civil war that plagued the nation, obtain social support, an education and vocational skills.
Extra features include a pair of interviews, production stills and a highly insightful and informative optional audio commentary by Takesue.