Things of the Aimless Wanderer

Synopsis

When the first explorers visited East Africa, the local Bantu populations called them “wazungu”, from the verb “kuzunguka”, to spin around, as a result of the explorer’s propensity to get lost in their wanderings… A white man meets a black girl. Then the girl disappears. The white man tries to understand what happened to her and eventually finish a travelogue.

Sundance Presentation

Kivu Ruhorahoza's arresting feature reveals a series of cryptic and loosely connected narrative shards. Each depicts an uneasy encounter between an African woman and a male figure of authority or menace, be he a nineteenth century white explorer, a twenty-first century Western journalist, or a Rwandan man performing reconnaissance for a shadowy internal agency. In each story, a female figure is an object of lust, surveillance, fascination or violence, inevitably disappearing from the narrative. Every disappearance becomes a sort of chorus, punctuated by enigmatic images and haunting musical soundscapes. Considering the film's title ("aimless wanderer" originally described hapless European explorers), one might indeed ask whether the female avatar of these stories may be a metaphor for Rwanda itself: colonized, objectified, and struggling to calibrate cultural gains, including gains for women, with reactionary policies and sentiments. Such questions haunt the periphery of this provocative film whose narrative core remains a reservoir of mystery. —S.K.

Trailer

 

Topic

Things of the Aimless Wanderer is a film about the sensitive topic of relations between “Locals” and Westerners. A film about paranoia, mistrust and misunderstandings. Half a century after African independences, one would have imagined that relationships between African “intellectuals” and the West would be appeased by now. But more than ever before, tensions are rampant and mistrust is at its peak. In these times of easy access to the Internet, those who consider themselves depository of African authenticity are alert to the Things of the Aimless Wanderer. The ways of the Westerner.

1. Fear of hybridization: The fear of hybridization engenders violence. Real or perceived. All societies are violent. And violence is normal. “Authentic identities” are sweet illusions and those who think it is their responsibility to preserve them are dreamers. Dangerous dreamers. There are more and more African voices rejecting everything “western”. There is increasing paranoia about how far we can go at embracing the ways of the westerners. African intellectuals have failed to conceptualize African modernity and the only possible modernity left for us is now Western. There is growing resentment towards Westerners defining the new cultural norms and being the sole narrators of the African story whatever that is. The “foreign correspondent” is a particularly hated figure in modern Africa because he seems to have a monopoly of the opinion on African matters.

2. White Man’s Burden: The foreign news correspondent believes he is invested with a sacred mission. He has romantic dreams about the status and lifestyle of a news reporter on the African continent. There is still a certain type of glory, early 20th century type of glory, that one can easily achieve in this part of the world. It is cheap glory but it is glory nonetheless.

3. Patriarchy: All the males in the story feel like they can save the young woman. In their own ways. The foreign news correspondent wants to save her from her reactionary males. In his opinion, she is the typical, mysterious “African princess” that these men can’t appreciate the right way. The local men want to save her from the immoral influences, the Western ways of the foreign correspondent, the Things of the Aimless Wanderer…

Creative team

Kivu Ruhorahoza

Producer / Writer / Director / Cinematographer

Kivu Ruhorahoza, is a screenwriter, director and producer from Rwanda. His first feature film, Grey Matter got a Jury Special Mention for Best Emerging Filmmaker and won the Best Actor award at the 2011 TriBeCa Film Festival. The film went on to win Grand Prize at the Tübingen French Film Festival, Best Director and Signis Award at the Cordoba African Film Festival, Jury Prize at the Khouribga African Film Festival, and several others. Kivu was a 2012 Rolex Mentor and Protégé nominee. Kivu's work has been showcased at prestigious museums such as the MoMA in New York, the ICA in London, the Tate Modern (as part of Olafur Eliason's Little Sun project) and at universities including the Bayreuth University, King's College, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Michigan, etc. In 2012, Kivu Ruhorahoza’s project Jomo was a Hubert Bals Fund development grantee and selected for the Atelier Cinemas du Monde selection at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The project had also been part of the 2012 CineMart Rotterdam, and Boost Binger Film Lab for script advisory by Molly Stensgaard (editor of all Lars von Trier films since The Idiots except for Antechrist). In 2014, Kivu embarked on Things of the Aimless Wanderer which he wrote, produced, shot and directed. Things of the Aimless Wanderer had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. Kivu Ruhorahoza has taught directing and screenwriting workshops for various organizations including the Goethe Institut, Mira Nair's Maisha Film Lab, Almond Tree Films, Unicef and has served as a mentor for TriBeCa Film Institute for young underprivileged aspiring filmmakers from New York.


Antonio Rui Ribeiro

Producer / Editor

Things of the Aimless Wanderer is Antonio’s second collaboration with writer-director Kivu Ruhorahoza and Moon Road Films’ debut project, a British production company based in London that he created in 2014. Antonio worked extensively as editor and cinematographer in fiction and documentary projects, mainly in the UK, Middle East and Africa. Recent credits include Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert (2015 – Time-lapse photography), Justice Seekers (2013-14 – Self-shooting director) a feature documentary for Al Jazeera English, broadcast on occasion of the 20 anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, Gilad and All that Jazz by Golriz Kolahi (2012 - Editor), an award-winning feature-length documentary about controversial saxophonist Gilad Atzmon. He was the editor of Kivu Rahurohoza’s award-winning debut feature Grey Matter. He is currently working on his latest documentary No Man’s Land (2015 - Self-shooting director) a feature documentary about the role of international justice in dealing with the aftermath of genocide and crimes against humanity. For more information, please visit Antonio's website.


Daniel Biro

Composer

Of Hungarian/Croatian descent, Biro grew up in Italy and France, studied piano at the Jazz Conservatory of Monaco and Nice University before moving to London in 1985. In 1993 he founded the avant-garde music label Sargasso. Along with performing live with various jazz/art-rock projects, Biro has been writing extensively for film/TV, theatre, contemporary dance, gallery installations. Works include five documentaries by director Olivier Sarrazin for French TV, six dance pieces by UK choreographer Jane Turner, BBC children’s TV series ‘In 2 Minds’ as well as a series of experimental award-winning shorts. He has released ten albums of his work. For more information, please visit Daniel Biro's website.


Joseph Bicknell

Colourist

Joseph is a Colourist based in London. His career began with him working in various departments both on and off set alongside Colouring, with experience in production, photography and video engineering. Grading a healthy mix of Commercials, Promos and Features, he enjoys the process of building upon and improving an image, working closely with the DoP, Director and others to enforce the motivation in every shot. Joseph skills are called upon on a regular basis to test new product demos for Blackmagic Design and most recently at Photokina. For more information, please visit Joseph Bicknell's website.


Jan Meinema

Sound designer

Jan's fascination with sound started at an early age, his career includes working as a musician, studio engineer and music producer. During his years at NR Studios Groningen in Holland, he started experimenting with recording techniques, sound creation and manipulation. Jan has built an extensive sound library, ranging from field recordings, recordings made during his travels to synthesised audio. He has a MA in Digital Media from the University from the West of England and currently is a senior lecturer at Bath Spa University in Creative Music Technology. His recent academic research includes sonic signatures within music production as well as transitions within film sound design. For more information, please visit Jan Meinema's website.


Cast

Justin Mullikin

Explorer / Journalist

Justin grew up on a tobacco farm in beautiful Kentucky and definitely values that life experience much more now than he did then. He studied Philosophy at Georgetown College and received an MA in International Development from The Patterson School at the University of Kentucky. After school Justin bounced around the globe before settling in Rwanda where he’s happily lived for the past 4 years, working in agriculture. Things of the Aimless Wanderer is his first experience in film and he sincerely hopes his mother is happy about it.


Grace Nikuze

Girl

Grace was born in 1984, in Kibungo, Eastern Province of Rwanda. At the age of 19, she competed in a Kivu Writers Workshop for short story writers, organized by VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas), and won. In 2006, she entered the National University in Butare, Rwanda, from where she graduated with a degree in Sociology. During her undergraduate studies and thereafter she has worked as an actress, social worker, translator and interpreter. At the age of 28 she moved to Kigali, where she currently resides. For many years now Grace has worked with different co-workers and in different cultural environments in Rwanda, Burundi, and Germany and with people from many other different countries. Things of the Aimless Wanderer was her first starring role.


Ramadhan Bizimana

Native / Intelligence worker

Ramadhan - aka Spike - is a Rwandan-born journalist and lives in Kigali where he works as a reporter, music producer and actor. He obtained his diploma at Lycee La Colombiere in 2007 and over the past 6 years, he whas worked on a wide range of media roles. Ramadhan has worked on a number of different movies, including Shake Hands With The Devil as an electrician and local team leader and on other documentaries about the Rwandan genocide as sound recordist. As an actor he played one of the central roles in Grey Matter, Kivu Ruhorahoza’s debut feature film, receiving Best Actor award at Tribeca Film festival in 2011. “My ongoing mission and passion is to work and play in different movies and increase my professional experience in cinema.


Matt Ray Brown

Narrator's voice

Hailing from Cambridge, UK, Matt is an experienced stage and film actor and voiceover artist. As a fluent speaker of French and German, he also has credits in these languages, most recently in Fraternity, a WW2 feature set in France and the UK. His other film credits include Shelter (New Art Productions), The Jinn (Colour Films), FIT (Team Angelica) and Angel (The Shorthouse Organisation). Matt’s theatre work includes 1984 (Playhouse Theatre), Ghosts (Trafalgar Studios), An Enemy of the People (Just Jones&), Parkway Dreams (Eastern Angles), Sports Play (Just a Must), Casablanca (Future Cinema). For more details, visit the Spotlight link.


Cast and Crew full billing

Produced by: Kivu Ruhorahoza and Antonio Rui Ribeiro

With: Justin Mullikin, Grace Nikuze, Ramadhan Bizimana, Eliane Umuhire, Wesley Ruzibiza

Narration by: Matt Ray Brown

Cinematography by: Kivu Ruhorahoza

Music by: Daniel Biro

Editing by: Antonio Rui Ribeiro

Sound design by: Jan Meinema

Sound recordist: Eugene Safali

Colour grading by: Joseph Bicknell

Narration proofread by: Alexis Okeowo

Camera assistant: Samuel Ishimwe

Gaffer: Minani Jean de Dieu

Production assistants: Didier Uzayisenga, Laura Radford

Associate producers: Akin Omotoso, Julie McArthur, Eugène Safali

Line producer: Yves Tuyishime

Assistant director: Aimé Philibert Mbabazi

Production Design / Catering by: Cher-Wen DeWitt

Contact us

Moon Road Films Ltd
+1 (917) 213-4250 - U.S.

+44 (0) 7919 032 192 - U.K.