The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Director: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Stars: Maxwell Simba, Chiwetel Ejiotor, Aissa Maiga, Lily Banda
Recently released on Netflix, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the incredible true story of 13-year-old William Kamkwamba (Maxwell Simba) and his efforts to help his village in the midst of one of the worst droughts in living memory.
This movie is based on the 2009 book of the same name written by William and Bryan Mealer and marks young Maxwell's acting debut.
This was the Nigerian-British Chiwetel Ejiofor's first stint as director of a full feature film. He also wrote the script and took on one of the leading roles in the film as William's father--Trywell.
Over the years, Ejiofor has become one of the most sought-after British actors, with memorable roles in such films as Steven Spielberg's Amistad, Ridley Scott's American Gangster and. The Martian, Roland Emmerich's 2012, Biyi Bandele's Haifa Yellow Sun, Garth Davis' Mary Magdalene and Steve McQueen's multi-award-winning film, 72 Years a Slave. He won a BAFTA award and nominations for the Academy and Golden Globes awards for his acting in this film.
While he is an outstanding actor, can he direct? For me the answer is a resounding yes. At no point did you feel that it was about style over substance, he just let the importance of the story guide the way. He developed the characters beautifully and shot the landscape with such sensitivity that it too seemed to acquire a life of its own. Above all, he brought an authenticity to the film that is often missing from Hollywood productions about Africa.
To the film itself: Trywell and his brother John work the fields together in their remote village in the landlocked country of Malawi, until one day the older of the two brothers passes away and instead of leaving his land to his sibling, bequeaths it to his son.
This is just the start of an unfortunate chain of events that leads Trywell and his family into financial difficulties.
During these events, his son William, who has a natural knack for engineering--mending radios and raiding junkyards for salvageable bits--starts secondary school, something he is so excited and proud of. Unfortunately his father has other priorities for spending the family's money so William is soon obliged to drop , out.
But his curiosity about what things work leads him to discover how the dynamo on his teacher's bike makes the light shine. He also discovers a secret romance...