The Tuareg title literally translates to "rain the color of blue with a little red in it," but make no mistake: Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai is Purple Rain at heart.
Described by director Christopher Kirkley as "a revolutionary story of guitars, motorcycles, cellphones — and the music of a new generation," the Sahara-set remake of Prince's Minneapolis-set 1984 rock 'n' roll drama was Kickstarted to life last year. The film premiered in Portland, Oregon, and France earlier this year.
Akounak, the first-ever Tuareg-language fictional film, sees our guitar-slinging hero Mdou Moctar hauling ass across the desert, determined to musically conquer Agadez — the Nigerien city “where guitars are king.”
Kirkley tells The Atlantic the script was altered to reflect the region and the culture. A pious, music-hating Muslim father is subbed in for the alcoholic and abusive one; archrival Kader Tanoutanoute replaces Morris Day; the final showdown goes down at the Agadez branch of the Alliance Française cultural center instead of First Avenue.
“The idea [was] just an extension of that out-of-placeness when living abroad in a foreign culture, of trying to see the familiar in the altogether foreign,” Kirkley explains to The Atlantic. The combination of striking desert shots and a killer West African soundtrack looks plenty enticing for a tiny-budget film shot in just eight days.
Kirkley, who's from Portland, is touring his film across Europe this fall. The film enjoyed its Minnesota premiere November 15 as part of the Sound Unseen music/film festival. You can order the original Akounak soundtrack (look at that LP cover!) here. Check out the trailer below.