Going Bongo is an indie film by director Dean Matthew Ronalds, the story follows Dr. Burger who lands a job at a respected hospital at Beverley Hills Medical centre in Los Angeles and is eager to impress his new boss. He attends a fund-raising auction and “accidentally” volunteers to work in Tanzania in Africa for a month, which forces him to leave behind his fiancé.
Going Bongo has already received high praise from critics as it won Official Selection at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and is the first African film to get accepted by iTunes. It has its London premiere on 4th June at the Cineworld Haymarket.
Going Bongo: The Good
The film stars newcomer Ernest Napoleon as “Dr. Burger” who also wrote the story and the script for the film. For a first time actor he holds the screen well as most of the screen time is based on his character who is a normal everyday person who ends up be thrown into this unfamiliar environment. He volunteers to help a poorly run hospital in Tanzania that is short staffed, has limited supplies, lack of electricity and is overly populated with patients.
Along the way he meets “Laura” [Emanuela Galliussia- “The Goodbye Kiss”], nurse who works at the hospital who teaches him about the running of the place as well as the culture and their way of life.
Going Bongo is well paced with features great cinematography that captures both the glitz and glamour of L.A. and Beverly Hills and then switches to beautiful and calm African villages and the chaotic roads of Tanzania.
The movie spotlights the braveness of individuals who volunteer to go to places like Africa to make a difference, such as the recent Ebola outbreak where English and American doctors put their life on line to help save lives. The movie also highlights the message of culture that plays an important part, in LA. there was fame and fortune whilst in Africa there is friendship and loyalty and just being yourself.
There are comedic elements too not just focusing on serious subject matters for example when Dr.Burger takes a shower for the first time in Africa its nothing more than a bucket and piece of rope. Another sees he take public transport and establishing if anyone speaks english, one of the passengers pretends to and just repeats everything he says.
Going Bongo: The Bad
Going Bongo won’t be an easy watch for everyone but it will be a change of pace especially in a busy season of blockbuster movies, it might however be be hard to get noticed by movie buffs as it is an indie flick and doesn’t have a big budget. There are no action scenes of explosions its completely a character piece that does raise an important message.
Overall, Going Bongo is feel good movie and a gem of an indie flick amongst the competitiveness of the big blockbuster season. Its a welcome change of pace that will surely make you appreciate life and will certainly reward you towards the end.
the “Going Bongo” is al