By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
“The Burial of Kojo” — among the offerings from Ava DuVernay’s Array Now Film Distribution Company and currently airing on Netflix, has been called quite the marvel that flexes visual storytelling muscles that you didn’t know existed.
Critics have also lauded the new flick for taking “unexpected risks with camera work and off-center choices when it comes to pushing a narrative forward.”
Deadline Hollywood’s Dino-Ray Ramos said the film may “have a flair for the opulent, but through all of its sumptuousness, it’s grounded with a very personal story.”
The New York Times noted that when musicians turn to film directing, it doesn’t always work out. However, for hip-hop artist, filmmaker and Ghanaian visual artist Blitz the Ambassador, it more than works out with “The Burial of Kojo.”
Blitz wrote, directed and scored the film in what many already label as a dazzling and modern fable.
“I say that the film is my grandmother’s story because her stories were real and they always had some moral and was always still rooted in the real world,” Blitz told NNPA Newswire just prior to a special screening at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Friday, April 5.
“It’s a magical story that deals with a little girl who has to find her father after he goes missing on a mining expedition,” Blitz said.
“The Burial of Kojo” counts as the tale of two brothers told through the gifted eyes of Esi, a young girl who transports the audience to the beautiful lands of Ghana and other worlds that exist between life and death.
“The Burial of Kojo,” is an essential human story of courage and survival, a 2019 Pan African Film Festival Official Selection and the winner of the Urban World Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Award.
The initial scene of the movie immediately grabs the audience’s attention.
A car burns on a beach and Esi, begins to share the story of her father and uncle via what she says is a dream that’s really not a dream at all. “My birth was supposed to bring prosperity and good fortune to my family.”
“The Burial of Kojo” depicts Esi as a child who has the trust of an old blind man. She begins dreaming of a man in a crow costume – the movie moves through various forms of imagery with the characters colored in purple and red lighting. “It has a lot of magical entities and elements that are used to tell a sometimes-traumatizing story,” said Blitz.
“I was most concerned with how to contribute through specific African lens,” he said.
Born and raised in Accra, Ghana, Blitz, whose real name is Samuel Bazawule, comes from a music background of Afrobeat, Jazz, Highlife and Motown.
He moved to the United States and attended Kent State University in Ohio before relocating to New York where his hip hop career began to flourish, according to Deadline Hollywood.
He started a band called Embassy Ensemble and his own label, Embassy MVMT which pushed the genre forward.
While he was making music, he always knew that a filmmaker was dying to come out.
“It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do,” he said.
“I come from visual arts — I draw. Those things are a gateway to understanding visual structure and colors. I always knew that at some point I would want to expand into motion pictures, but it just didn’t seem plausible.”