Nakom follows the tribulations of medical student Iddrisu, who is forced back to his rural home in Ghana when his father dies, and has to then decide whether he stays with his family or returns to finish his studies.
Furthermore, he is confronted with some difficult realities when he arrives in Nakom: a deeply troubled and divided family, a failing farm, and the large debt to his uncle which Iddrisu inherited from his father.
It is a remarkably fresh take on an idea as ancient as urbanisation itself. The casting of non-actors means the film ebbs with a really natural flow. The colouring of the shots is something to be marvelled at, again all natural but no less stunning than a multi-million pound studio.
This film keeps your interest because it is full of opposition – urban against rural, modernity against tradition, and men against women. All this places great strain on Iddrisu, portrayed by Jacob Ayanaba as if he is a person he has known all his life. By far the most difficult moment of the film is when Fatima (Issaka) goes into labour. However, all the difficulties of the farm serve to draw Iddrisu closer into it and his own turbulent dilemma.
TW Pittman’s script is paced with real consideration (with one or two unclear time transitions being exceptions) and firmly puts the focus on those rural areas which are otherwise ignored by and large. This is a story very much about the people and the difficulties they endure as part of everyday life. The story remains firmly grounded throughout, and is culturally aware in ways we are simply not used to a lot of the time.
Inevitably, the great Hollywood machine and its output is not going to be rivalled for ticket sales. But in a year of madcap superheroes and a forgetful blue fish, Nakom fuels our desire for reality in a way that is grounded in a story familiar to most people, but in a situation which for the vast majority is simply beyond their imagination.
Nakom is being screened on Thu 3rd Nov at Scottish Storytelling Centre as part of Africa in Motion Film Festival
Image: Africa in Motion; Nakom