It was 7 p.m. on Feb. 17, and I was seated in the Union Cinema waiting for the lights to dim and the show to begin. I had come to see “Ady Gasy,” one of the films featured in the 19th annual Festival of Films in French. Popcorn in hand, I was excited to learn more about Madagascar and the Malagasy way of life.
Nantenaina Lova, director of “Ady Gasy,” brilliantly documented the personal lives of various Madagascar natives. From musicians to scavengers, Lova revealed an enormous range of cultural, political and economic perspectives within 84 minutes. The documentary style of this film also served as the perfect format to use these varying perspectives and get an emotional reaction out of the audience; contrasting ethos and pathos, Lova had the audience (myself included) enraptured from the start.
The overwhelmingly resourceful and genuine people featured in “Ady Gasy” also kept my attention. From a Western-world perspective, many of the inhabitants of Madagascar own almost nothing. However Lova demonstrated, in “Ady Gasy,” how the Malagasy people have made use of what they do have in the most incredible ways.
One criticism I had for this film is that it was pretty redundant at certain points. As an example, traditional Malagasy music was played throughout “Ady Gasy.” The music was a lovely addition to the film as a whole. By the end, however, the music had lost its luster. Also, the music did not seem to have any sort of attachment to the messages conveyed in this film.
Separate from this critique, I thoroughly enjoyed “Ady Gasy.” It opened my mind to new ideas about resourcefulness and allowed me to learn a little more about Madagascar. I look forward to attending the 20th annual Festival of Films in French next year, and I encourage others to come out as well. Who knows? You may find yourself feeling enlightened or maybe even learn a thing or two.
The preview for “Ady Gasy” from YouTube:
For more information on other screenings at the Union Cinema, check out their website.