Bantu Mama is the newest submission for Dominican Republic for International Feature. Directed by Ivan Herrera, the film is gorgeously shot in Santo Domingo and features a wonderful performance by Clarisse Albrecht. Bantu Mama is a beautiful reminder that kindness can be found in the most unexpected places.
The film begins with a woman, Emmanuelle, who lives in Marcouville, France, but was born in Cameroon. She is having a much needed vacation in a gorgeous all-inclusive resort in Dominican Republic. Her room is right on the beach and it’s just the break she needs from her life back home. She plans to be there for a week. On her second day there, while relaxing in the pool, Emmanuelle receives a phone call. Before we know it, she is packing up her things and meets up with a man in a mercedes at the hotel lobby. She replaces her old luggage with a new one and she heads to the airport.
Emmanuelle is on edge and nervous. She’s fidgety and definitely uneasy. Something isn’t right. And just as she’s about to board the plane she is stopped by law enforcement and she’s arrested for smuggling drugs. On the way to the prison though she’s involved in a head-on collision and as the sole survivor she’s luckily able to escape. She’s rescued by a brother and sister and they take her to their home in one of the roughest neighbourhoods in Santo Domingo.
“What kind of mess did you get involved in?” says one of the family members. And thus the journey begins for Emmanuelle and her “new family.”
Bantu Mama gives us a glimpse into a new unfamiliar world. It’s proof that humanity is universal and that humanity exists. The true meaning of living is to show compassion towards others and to help them. We will all need help from a stranger one day and this film is a reminder to be that stranger for anyone in need. This film is a celebration of life and about getting new chances, and almost like two wrongs can make it right. So let’s jump as high as the Maasai tribe and celebrate being united no matter where we come from.