Hajooj Kuka's delicate treatment of the plight of the people of Sudan's Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile, Beats of the Antonov, offers a rare and sensitive look at the anxiety of communities dancing on the edge of a blade and the music through which they seek to keep their identities and culture intact
One is never at peace with oneself when in the midst of an identity crisis. The internal tug-of-war that transpires between opposing elements vying for some kind of superior legitimacy is recipe for dis-ease. In many ways, Sudan’s north and south offer symptoms to this malady, a rather common ailment in Africa.
Beats of the Antonov opens up with a wide shot of a sky with a solitary airplane cutting forbodingly through cirrus clouds. People on the ground scramble for shelter when they see it. “The plane is coming! The Antonov! It’s here!” A thunderous explosion soon follows as people climb into trenches serving as protection from the sky-borne destruction. When they eventually emerge from their hiding places, off-camera, children are laughing. Unable to contain their relief from having lived through yet another Sudan-sanctioned bombing, they indulge themselves in hysterics. Just an ordinary day in the lives of the people of Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.
“The laughter is always there. People laugh despite the catastrophe because they realise they are not hurt. Laughter is like a new birth,”