Capsule Review: Da Yie

Co-written by the talented emerging duo Anthony Nti and Chingiz Karibekov, Da Yie has garnered four Oscar-qualifying Grand Prizes (Leuven Short Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, Indy Short International Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival) amongst its 25 awards and 140 high profile film festivals selections.

Written by Anna Harrison

70/100

Da Yie follows two Ghanian children, Matilda (Matilda Enchil) and Prince (Prince Agortey), as an alluring foreigner shows them around town. A simple enough premise, but Da Yie’s charming child actors and understated script make the film pop. Matilda is headstrong and bold, convincing Prince to come play soccer even as the quieter Prince hedges, worried about his mother’s reaction. Enchil and Agortey give natural performances in their respective roles, settling into the film easily; they hold their own against Goua Grovogui, as the “boogah” (foreigner), whose performance tells a lot about his character while saying very little.

Director Anthony Nti and writer Chingiz Karibekov show the world of Da Yie through the eyes of children, a very deliberate choice: we never know exactly what the foreigner wants with Matilda and Prince; we only know what they see. We never find out exactly what the boogah wants with Matilda and Prince, so we can only guess, each idea more horrible than the last. The children’s innocent viewpoint is undercut by and contrasts with the audience’s wariness of the boogah, and their ultimate loss of innocence truly does feel like a loss as they are exposed to the darkness of the real world. There are some odd editing choices in certain scenes where I would have preferred the camera to linger, and character depth from the boogah came mainly from Grovogui than the script, but Da Yie rises on the strength of its performances and remains a strong coming-of-age tale.

Da Yie Trailer

You can buy Da Yie on Vimeo

You can also read Anna’s Interview with the Da Yie filmmakers Anthony Nti and Chingiz Karibekov or you can follow more of Anna’s work on Letterboxd and her website

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