CIFF Review: LIYANA part 2

Overcome fear- Hang on to hope

That was the advice of the grandmother and a recurring theme in the film Liyana.

 Photo courtesy of Amanda Kopp

Photo courtesy of Amanda Kopp

 

I fell in love with this film the first time I heard about it. Half documentary, half animation, I was all in. Zoe saw it the day before and said it was enthralling, and people told us how great the movie was as we stood in line for the film. So as I settled into my seat next to Chauna I began to wonder was it going to live up to my expectations.

The movie tells the story of fictional Liyana, who was created by kids in an orphanage in Swaziland. The children were guided by a storyteller to create everything from Liyana’s look and hairstyle to her experiences. Oftentimes they incorporated their own life experiences and dreams to create Liyana’s world.

 Photo courtesy of Amanda Kopp

Photo courtesy of Amanda Kopp

There were moments where Liyana dealt with some very tough issues which didn’t sit well with me.  Mainly because I could tell how those issues had impacted the kids as they told the story. At one point, I began to think I was wrong about this movie, but that quickly went away.

The story of the children is both sad and uplifting. They have been through so much in their short lives but they are still kids who know how to have fun.  I loved watching the kids tell Liyana’s story with giggles and making sound effects to help their story along. My heart broke for them when they told parts of the story with tears in their eyes.  As I watched, I wanted to meet, help or adopt all of them.

The imagery for both portions was amazing.  While watching the kids story, I began to see how beautiful and untouched the land was. It made me want to travel to Swaziland and Africa as a whole. For Liyana’s story, the warm hues and colors made me feel like I was looking at a picture book.  I was drawn in by Liyana’s perfect skin tone and hairstyle. She was regal and had the poise of a young African queen. The more I watched, the more I wanted a Liyana doll or book, which sadly doesn’t exist yet.
 

 Photo courtesy of Amanda Kopp

Photo courtesy of Amanda Kopp

I cannot say enough about this movie, I think I would’ve seen it again had we not been at the last showing...I hope to see it again

This post is part of a two-post review.  Read Chauna's thoughts on LIYANA here.

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