Hollow Pond

After being abandoned by his brothers, a young Maasai boy
must outwit a mysterious force to be reunited with his family.

Genre: Other

Length: 14:19

Free To View

4 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Rolfin Nyhus, Charlie Mather, Adam Anson

Director/s : Rolfin Nyhus, 

Writer/s : Adam Anson, 

Actor/s : Oneal Gakuu, Robert Okoth, Enoch Naam,, Benjamin Murray, Liza Calinicos

 

Hollow Pond is ambitious and shamelessly experimental. It starts conventionally enough: a young goatherd in remote rural Kenya is haunted by a Maasai legend of a monster, half man, half lion. He and his brothers try to hunt down the monster, but the hunters become the hunted.

Now the story becomes increasingly surreal and impressionistic. The monster is not one entity, but three, and they wear suits, ties and bowler hats, symbols of corporations and colonial rule. They chase the boy, and he is lost in the forest. One suit seems to be a hologram. The boy is saved by a ghost warrior. He dreams a surreal montage of old Africa and the modern world.

One image is arresting: black feet walk in sandals, dragging shiny leather shoes behind them. Feet and shoes walk in step, shoes tied to ankles by their laces. It’s laden with symbolism, but what of? The west being a drag on Africa perhaps?

The story transposes to London, and the ambition of using a corner of Epping Forest to represent the plains of the Maasai Mara becomes not just a shortcut, but an artistic conceit. The effect is helped by judicious grading to turn the green grasses yellow, until the parkland gets more green and pleasant. We even hear Jerusalem, as the boy’s brothers, now a priest and a businessman, return to rescue him. We rise and rise over London.

Hollow Pond melds horror and documentary, the traditional and the modern, Kenya and London, strange myth and even stranger reality. There are no rules for what can be taken from a film like this. It might be about bridges between the African diaspora and the old African identity, but there’s grist here for many different interpretations.

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