NEPTUNE FROST is a new sci-fi movie, though not the type anybody would picture when I say that word. It takes place in what must be the near future, with technology and civilization extrapolated from and commenting on the present. It has world-building, colorfully named characters (Memory, Innocent, Psychology), futuristic lingo, a rebellion. But it’s very much an art movie, its imagery more based in theater and video art than FX, and also it’s a musical. Its story is more mythical, surreal and allegorical than traditionally cinematic. The narrator, Neptune, acknowledges this upfront when she says, “Maybe you’re asking yourself WTF is this? Is it a poet’s idea of a dream?” So it’s not surprising that its growing cult success has come through a carefully coordinated limited release.
It’s set in Rwanda, and begins in a coltan mine. Skinny men in the sun chipping at rock with various tools, harvesting ore for capacitors used in phones and computers they mostly can’t afford. One miner named Tekno finds a big piece of coltan (I thought it was a fossil), becomes enamored with it and holds it aloft. An overseer yells at him to keep working, and hits him in the head. He falls over, to the horror of his brother Matalusa (Bertrand Ninteretse), and dies. The others are upset but forced to return to work. They drum and chant and create a beat with their work. (read the rest of this shit…)