By Carol Borden
Neptune Frost (Rwanda/USA, 2021) Saul Williams, Anisia Uzeyman
Dense and ambitious, allegorical and musical, Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman’s Neptune Frost (Rwanda, 2021) is unified field theory of a film combining Afrofuturist cyberpunk science fiction, music, poetry, history, post-colonialism, critical theory, reflections on war, genocide, decolonization and resistance. And I’m going to add swank futuristic fashion and make-up.
Neptune (Cheryl Isheja and Elvis Ngabo), an extremely fashionable hacker and intersex person, flees after being assualted and meets Matalusa (Bertrand “Kaya Free” Ninteretse), a coltan miner, in a village of hackers in Rwanda. Together in songs and discussions, the community tries to escape the Authority, realize their own power and envision a world free of war, genocide, colonialism, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, slave labor and extractive industries that contribute nothing to the people who “do the work behind their screens.”
How effective is it? I think Neptune Frost is exactly the movie Williams and Uzeyman wanted to make. They have expressed what they want to express in the form they want to express it. And that is one of the ways that art is successful. Neptune Frost is the kind of movie I need to sit with for a while. There is a lot ot think about and it certainly bears more than one viewing. Once more people have seen Neptune Frost, I expect there to be some deep, thoughtful and compelling pieces on it that I look forward to reading. In the meantime, you’re welcome to join me in just pondering what we’ve seen.