“Netflix” recently acquired the drama “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” from this year’s Sundance Film Festival and like “Roma”, it takes the viewer to a place we know very little about.
Actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor is the writer, director, and star of this drama that takes place in Malawi, Africa. Corn farmer Trywell (Ejiofor) is determined to provide for his wife and three children, but the extreme weather -- flooding during the rainy season followed by a lengthy drought, causes a dismal harvest and dire straits for the entire village.
It also makes it impossible to pay school tuition for his son, William. The teen helps the family with his talent of repairing electronic items like radios and sourcing parts in a neighboring dumping area, but it doesn’t add up to much.
The subpar crop and lack of money eventually causes the family to cut their meals to one a day. After being kicked out of school and losing his beloved dog from starvation, William focuses on the survival of his family by researching how he can keep their next planting of corn hydrated in this brutally sun scorched land.
“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” is a beautiful, TRUE story about the resilience and determination of one young man making a difference in his community. Some might be turned off by subtitles (language: Chichewa) but there is authenticity in every moment and it’s worth the effort to see and appreciate the commonalities of their existence with ours—and the differences, most notably the poverty--but there’s also the role of women and the limitations placed on William’s older sister Annie.
As of this writing, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are suffering from horrible floods caused from a cyclone hitting the region. I hope you’ll watch the film, but an outpouring of donations is needed, as almost 1 million people have been severely impacted.
- Vera J. Brooks