Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman’s one-of-a-kind feature is an Afro-futurist science-fiction musical centred on a grieving coltan miner and an intersex hacker who find liberation through technology.
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“This ardently imaginative science-fiction musical is set in an unspecified African police state that censors media, suppresses protest, and nourishes its kleptocracy via murderously authoritarian management of its coltan mines. A young miner named Matalusa (Bertrand Ninteretse), after the killing of his brother, flees the capital for an encampment of technocentric revolutionaries. There, he joins forces with a gender-fluid character named Neptune, who’s played by both a male actor (Elvis Ngabo) and a female one (Cheryl Isheja). Neptune, with a metaphysical connection to the precious coltan, enables the group to take over the Internet and, under the name of Martyr Loser King, broadcasts the protesters’ message to the world.
The directors, Saul Williams (who also wrote the script and the music) and Anisia Uzeyman (who also did the cinematography), conjure this fantasy world with fluorescent costumes, extravagant special effects and boldly choreographed production numbers that match the enthusiastic music. Yet for all its defiant energy, the movie is far from utopian; the filmmakers’ visionary speculations are balanced by a chilling realism and a sense of political tragedy.” — Richard Brody, New Yorker