The Long Walk Of The Chameleon

The Long Walk Of The Chameleon


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is a treat of a film. Beautifully shot, with rich hues, it's a fascinating spectacle. It takes its cues from folk superstitions about the chameleon. If it is offended, bad luck follows.

Set, filmed, in Burkina Faso, it's directed by Idrissa Oudraogo. Like Jafar Panahi's The Accordion it's funded in part by the Art For The World project, and to that end it gives a good sense of place. While it's not as immediately evocative as Madagascar, it does ably convey the contrasts between modern and traditional Africa - the initial confrontation with the titular chameleon starts when it's encountered in the road, its tiny frame ably juxtaposed with the air-conditioned might of a luxuriously appointed Range Rover.

At the wheel is Omar, in the back seat Razo. They are driving out to the hinterland, to visit Razo's uncle. Omar's deference to tradition outweighs his respect for his 'chief', and things start to get complicated shortly thereafter.

Screened at Glasgow Short Film Festival in 2010, subtitles were provided on paper. The dialogue is sparse, however, so that was no great hardship. In most cases action is given the chance to unfold quietly, naturalistically.

It has good performances, especially from the chameleon, a gentle but touching story, and a more complex metaphysical protest than The Adjustment Bureau managed with the exclamation "but my soul isn't yellow!". Vibrant in colour, personality, if minimal everywhere else, it's a treat, and, like its titular lizard, worth stopping for.

Reviewed on: 22 Mar 2011
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A journey is interrupted by the sighting of a chameleon, which presages ill fortune.
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Director: Idrissa Ouedraogo

Year: 2010

Runtime: 7 minutes

Country: Burkina Faso


Glasgow 2011

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