France 2015, 85’
DIR: Simon Rouby
DISTRIBUTION: NAÏA Productions
The French director Simon Rouby’s first feature length animation film Adama, is a multilayered story of belonging, of brotherly love, and of a young boy’s experience of war, which undergoes a painful expansion overnight.
The story takes place in 1916. The director, who is also one of the two script-writers, stresses that, although the story is real, it is not an historical film. Raised in an academic family, Rouby thoroughly researched the historical background in order to find the appropriate form in which to put across her chosen subject.
Adama lives with his family, in a tiny west African village surrounded by cliffs. To leave the village is to bring bad luck on the tribe. Adama’s elder brother Samba is about to be initiated into manhood, but he is drawn by the outside world and instead of initiation, he chooses to serve in the Foreign Legion as a mercenary. Adama has no idea where this road will lead him and following various road-signs, he reaches Verdun , one of the First World War’s bloodiest battlegrounds.
The visual narrative of Adama is as multilayered as the story itself. The main characters are man-made mud figures created by 3D scanning. The crowds and places are 2D. This gives the film a special spacious quality. The film’s colour code turns gradually from warm to cold tones.
And invariably, as in real life, Adama’s eccentric façade conceals a well-honed survival instinct.