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Animation Film Review: “TumTum” – A Thought-Provoking Journey into African Mythos and Identity.



Socrates Safo, a luminary in what many feel was the golden era of Ghanaian films, embarks on a unique cinematic endeavour with “TumTum,” collaborating with Animator Michael Narh and his Dream Animations Studios outfit. 

This 40-minute animation film delves into the creation story from the perspective of a Black man, exploring the origins of people of colour and Caucasians, aiming to unravel the threads that make us different yet connected.

The narrative unfolds in the present day, where a malevolent character seeks ancient scrolls discovered by unsuspecting fishermen. These scrolls purportedly contain the details of the creation story, gradually unveiled to the audience. The film seamlessly weaves historical facts, conspiracy theories, and the filmmaker’s musings, taking the viewer on a mind-bending, psychedelic journey.

While the animation style might not be the most advanced, it effectively captures attention with its three-dimensional detail, creating a vivid world and characters essential to the storytelling. Some scenes, intentionally or not, appear as though not entirely rendered, contributing to the film’s ‘trippy’ aesthetic.

A standout feature of “TumTum” is its exceptional voiceover narration and sound scoring. The absence of actual dialogue from characters is compensated by a well-executed sound design that immerses the audience in the narrative. This auditory prowess of the voiceover narrator complements the visual elements, creating a holistic cinematic experience. It’s a testament to the film’s ability to engage viewers without relying on traditional spoken words.

Socrates Safo describes “TumTum” as the lion finally telling its side of the story, challenging the narratives that often glorify only the hunter. This unconventional perspective, however, lacks documented literature support, raising questions about the film’s historical accuracy.

Despite its uncertain commercial value, “TumTum” holds significant educational merit. The film sparks uncomfortable yet necessary conversations about identity, myth, and the portrayal of African perspectives. Socrates Safo‘s reluctance to release the film to the public adds an intriguing layer to its mystique, but the potential impact on societal dialogue could be profound.

As the narrative concludes, “TumTum” takes on the semblance of a call to action, beckoning individuals of African descent in the diaspora to return to their roots, notably to Ghana. The film’s ties to the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Year of Return initiative further reinforce this notion. However, whether a 40-minute film can genuinely influence such a significant decision remains an open question.

In the grand finale of Socrates Safo‘s storytelling career, “TumTum” earns a commendable out of 5 stars for me.

Its thought-provoking nature makes it a valuable addition to the festival circuit, ensuring that it will be discussed and debated by audiences willing to engage with its unconventional narrative and visual style.

Second on my list of addictions is Movies.. the only thing I could possibly love more is my Dearest Waakye lol. Nothing else does a better job of reminding me that ANYTHING is possible with the right amount of effort. I have great eye for details and flaws in scripts. Shallow scripts bore me. I am an avid reader. Your everyday Mr Nice guy. Always the last to speak in a room full of smart people. Half Human, half Martian but full MOVIE FREAK.

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