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A title like Amansa tiafi (Public Toilet Africa) promises an irreverent ride. And Ghanaian writer-director Kofi Ofosu-Yeboah does not fail to deliver. His debut feature paints a national portrait that is at once a biting satire and a love letter to his home country.
His protagonists, Ama and Sadiq, are descendants of Bonnie and Clyde. Or, more accurately, of Anta and Mory, the couple in Djibril Diop Mambéty’s revolutionary Touki Bouki (1973).
The beautiful and enigmatic Ama returns to Ghana after an absence and, after acquiring a gun and enlisting her old flame Sadiq, departs on a road trip to settle old scores. Along the way, they encounter crooked politicians, corrupt courts of law, shady art dealers, and the lingering residues of colonialism.
Time and again, the narrative shifts to Atta and Kwaku, two older men on a separate journey who, like a pair of Shakespearean clowns, are always hopelessly drunk and engaged in hilarious bickering.
Portrayed with confident and playful stylishness, these parallel peregrinations take us through a succession of breath-taking panoramas, while an omniscient voice-over offers sarcastic commentary on the plot’s wild goings-on. Without ever trivializing the difficult realities at hand, the world presented here is a far cry from the Africa we’ve come to expect at film festivals.