Benoît Poelvoorde reunited with Benoît Mariage in the humidity of Abidjan
by Aurore Engelen
13/03/2013 - José, 45 years old, is a Belgian football manager who specializes in finding promising young African players. He has made the middle class neighbourhoods of Abidjan his favourite hunting ground, where girls sell their charms to survive while boys follow the crazy dream of conquering Europe and its astronomical wages with their studded shoes. One day, José discovers Yaya, a young prodigy to whom he promises a great future in football. He takes him back to Belgium. But once there, nothing goes as planned. Yaya is hit by malaria on the day he is to be tested by an elite club. The goose that lays the golden eggs then becomes a cumbersome liability for his manager. Nevertheless, imperceptibly, Yaya, with his rebellious and direct nature, will touch José’s soul, and slowly draw him out of his immense emotional desert.
José is played by Benoît Poelvoorde, reunited for the third time after Les Convoyeurs Attendent (1998) and Cowboy [trailer, film focus] (2007), with the camera of his colleague from Namur, Benoît Mariage. Alongside him is Marc Zinga, almost a newcomer, mainly known in Belgium as the vocalist in the Peas Project band. As expected, Akwaba (the title is still provisional), is not so much a film about modern football (although it promises to paint an uncompromising portrait), but rather a film about human relations, an impossible link between a manager and a “product”, a Belgian man in his forties and a young man from the Ivory Coast, all of this overlaid by years of History.
Filming, which began at the beginning of January in the Ivory Coast, will end this week in Belgium. On the production side, we find the explosive duo formed by Michaël Goldberg (MG Productions) and Boris Van Gils (Formosa), who notably worked on The World Belongs to Us by Stephan Streker, and Viva Riva! [trailer] by Djo Munga. They will be assisted by Bardafeu Cinéma and Cab Productions, and have received funding from the CCA and Wallimage. The film is scheduled for release in early 2014.
(Translated from French)