Prince Agortey, Matilda Enchil, Goua Robert Grovogui
Chingiz Karibekov, Anthony Nti
"Da Yie" Screens at 2020 Indy Shorts Film Festival
Anthony Nti's Da Yie is a gripping, tension-filled dramatic short about two young children in Ghana, Prince (Prince Agortey) and Matilda (Matilda Enchil), whose sunny day of play gets interrupted by the appearance of a "Bogah," a foreigner (Goua Robert Grovogui), who invites them on an unexpected trip. The three of them get along so well that the Bogah begins to question his original intentions.
While it's clear fairly quickly in Da Yie that something isn't quite right, the script by Chingiz Karibekov and Nti keeps things under wraps for a good majority of the film as we're never quite sure just how dastardly this Bogah's intentions really are. Far before any of the action unfolds, the tension builds in Da Yie and it's magnified by the strong performances by our leading trio. Wisely, Nti also keeps us from taking too much comfort with the Bogah's seeming change of heart as the environment around them isn't exactly friendly to anything resembling a change of heart.
Da Yie won the International Competition at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival along with Best Flemish Short at Leuven International Short Film Festival and the Audience Award - Best Belgian Student Short at Ghent International Film Festival. Lensing by Pieter-Jan Claessens is effective at maximizing the unspoken tensions, while Claessens' lens also helps us accept the semblance of affection that rises from the Bogah for these young children. Frederik Vandewalle's editing also lingers in all the right places and leaves us constantly wondering precisely when what feels like an inevitable conflict is going to happen.
Da Yie is screening as a finalist during the 2020 Indy Shorts International Film Festival, the latest accolade for the film but it's doubtful that it will be the film's last. With strong performances by young actors Prince Agortey and Matilda Enchil and Goua Robert Grovogui's convincing winding arc, Da Yie is most certainly one of Indy Shorts's more anxiety-inducing and compelling cinematic endeavors.
*Editor's Note: Da Yie picked up the $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short Film at Indy Shorts and is now Academy Award-qualified!
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic