If directors João Miller Guerra and Filipa Reis have accomplished anything through their expansion of the world of their previous documentary’s subject — the Cape Verde-born, Portuguese-based Miguel Moreira — then it’s proving that fiction can be just as dull as reality. Moreira plays himself in the narrative film Djon Africa, with some fictitious differences; he spends his days either working a tedious construction job or shoplifting with his girlfriends. Moreira suddenly learns of the existence of his long-lost father, who may still be alive back in his home country, and a journey of self-discovery ensues, as he casually drifts from one shapeless episode to the next, with nothing dramatic enough occurring to make the journey feel like it carries much weight. Every encounter becomes tedious in its uneventfulness; even during the most lavish of parties, or the most solemn of introspective moments, the mundane approach taken by Guerra and Reis gives little interiority to their star, who in contrast has given them so much of himself.
Published as part of New Directors/New Films 2018 | Dispatch 2.