Review of Adanggaman

I have just finished watching Adanggaman, an indie film from Cote d’Ivoire. Adanggaman provides an unforgiving look at the slave trade as it existed in late seventeenth century West Africa. While countless Hollywood films have looked at slavery, very few have dared to touch the Transatlantic Slave Trade; a noted exception being Amistad, which depicted it in a completely anachronistic manner. There are many things about Adanggaman that make it very different from mainstream films. For one thing it was clearly shot on a limited budget, so it focuses far more on dialogue and characterization than it does on creating a visual spectacle. Still, the props, sets, and costumes are good enough, and the movie takes full advantage of the scenery of its film location (an American film with this budget could not afford to film in Africa). What I liked best about Adanggaman was is that the slave trade is portrayed in a matter of fact way without passing a moral judgment or making it painfully obvious what emotions we are supposed to feel. Showing this tragic era from a solely African perspective also makes it unique, even though White people are frequently mentioned none actually appear. Overall I would say that while it could be better, Adanggaman is definitely worth viewing.


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