Burn It Up Djassa tells the story of an Abidjan ghetto and one young man whose embrace of the ghetto ultimately led to his demise. Tony is a young cigarette seller who finds luck gambling in the ghetto. Despite his policeman older brother’s attempts to keep him employed and off the streets, Tony finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed in the life, resulting in a series of events that has ramifications on their entire family.
The film was shot on a really low budget, but director Lonesome Solo and his crew do their best to hide this. Sometimes, it’s thematically obvious, such as a film break device where a member of the ghetto summarizes what happens in the next scenes as a psuedo-narrator/transitioning device. Other times, it’s painfully displayed in the lack of special effects, such as guns not firing or a body being hit by a bullet having no outward appearance of such.
Burn It Up Djassa is a valiant effort and shows what can be done on a miniscule budget. It shows a piece of life from a country (West Africa’s Ivory Coast) that, to my knowledge, hasn’t been used in film much, if at all. Yet, the universal understanding of living in the ghetto seen in the film makes it not feel so alien… it also doesn’t hurt that Tony wears a Michael Jordan jersey through the bulk of the film.
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Burn It Up Djassa
Director: Lonesome Solo
Country: France/Ivory Coast
Release Date: October 12, 2013 (CIFF)