Another Day of Life

Directing animating team Raul De La Fuente and Damian Nenow adapt the life account of Angolan based Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski, who reported from the front line of the Angolan civil war between the various factions after the Portuguese decolonisation of the region. Believing he is going to be at a cornerstone of history, Kapuscinski is keen to stay as the various factions engaged in a bloody war for control, with the threat of CIA backed South Africa rumoured to planning an invasion from the south where a former Portuguese paratrooper Farrusco who turned on his country to fight for the MPLA (People’s Movement for Liberation of Angola) was allegedly holding a stronghold against their enemy. Believing that Farrusco and that area was a key area in how the war would turn out, Kapuscinski and fellow reporter Queiros go against advice to travel south as putting their lives at risk, but also bare witness to unspeakable horrors of slaughter. Despite the odds of reaching Farrusco, Kapuscinski witnesses a potential turning point in the war. How he decides to share this information leads him to question the role of his code as a reporter but also what he leaves in his report can lead to a deadly fate for the people of Angola.

Another Day of Life is not exclusively all animation to convey Kapuscinski’s efforts whilst in Angola. The creators also infuse live action interviews with some of the surviving figures Kapuscinski came across, as well as filmed segments of Angolan people in modern life. Thus creating a hybrid that is part adaptation and part documentary but all parts messy. Whilst these documented accounts bring some comfort to the audience and authenticity, it really jaunts with the flow and tone of the piece. To my understanding there are two language versions, one in the original language and one for English speaking audiences. But that just seems daft as soon as the live action interviews come into play as they don’t speak English. Using voice actors and giving the key players American accents or slightly dodgy European or African accents makes the film cheapen it’s honesty. Personally I am not a fan of war reporters made to look like rock and roll stars which is largely how Kapuscinski is portrayed. Kapuscinski’s story in animation feels largely melodramatic, which seems mad when the war itself should provide enough drama. The animation also and often falls into magical realism, something that was a feature in Kapuscinski’s books, but here it’s over egging the cake that deviates from the tension of Kapuscinki who is racing against the clock.

It’s a shame because the animation is fairly lush and fit for cinema and giving the context of the source material, Another Day of Life could have been an important film that could sit next to the likes of Walz With Bashir but instead it plays with two many formulas and create a car wreck instead.

★★

Chris Aitken

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