Honest admission: I’ve never left the country. I live vicariously through travel magazines, video games, and film. It’s a sad thing. But I feel safe enough with ya’ll to share that. Don’t like it? Fight me.
Anywho, I’m saying this (ashamedly) because I didn’t know how captivating Ethiopia’s geography is until I saw Crumbs. From verdant jungles to crashing waterfalls and desolate landscapes, Ethiopia serves as the backdrop for this sci-fi tale from The Continent. The film itself follows a couple, Candy and Sayat, as they struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, all while trying to hitch a ride on a spaceship in the sky.
The plot to Crumbs is hard to follow in that it’s not a narrative-centered film. At times, its plot is just as ethereal as its many other elements. So much so that you may find yourself watching the film for its visual components more than its enthralling narrative. I open with this because it’s good to know off the jump that Crumbs is experimenting with itself and you; the medium of film and your expectations. Thus, Crumbs offers so much that to ignore it for its lack of some Nolan-esque plot would be an insult to the film and you’d be doing yourself a serious disservice.
Crumbs works best when it plays on your imagination. From beautiful wide shots of Candy running through a barren and rocky field, to close and personal shots of Sayat and her fever dreams, Crumbs crafts a breathtaking and fanciful world that is both dangerous and wondrous.
Crumbs also doesn’t shy away from balancing the absurd with the deeply human. Throughout Candy’s travails, his love for Sayat is evident and reciprocated. Through their fight to survive, the two become one. Daniel Tedesse’s performance is gripping in that there is no handicap in how he is filmed. Rather than portray him as a person who is characterized by his difference in ability, the camera humanizes him, observing him as doing things as he does them. This is important because his person, his ability, is never explained in some faux-sympathetic way; he simply is. The importance of this runs deep and should be appreciated, as it highlights a need for more non-tragedy-porn approaches to filming and humanizing actors, regardless of their person or relation to some spectrum of a rigid and often strict spectrum of Normality.
This, mixed with his emphatic movement and voice, makes for an impactful experience because you see his humanity and his struggle, rooting for him at every turn — you truly want him to get on that damn spaceship with Sayat.
Speaking of struggle, the film does well to play with peril, in a minimalist way. Much like Don Quixote, Candy takes many surreal jaunts into the fanciful; he faces giants in old warriors, finds currency in old Michael Jackson records, prays to photos of Michael Jordan, and seeks wisdom from Santa. That’s right, Santa’s in this movie. Albeit much older, much skinnier, and much more ornery. But he’s Santa nonetheless.
Sprinkle in some cyclical humor by way of a wiley pawn shop owner, some fun jabbing at pop culture, and a haunting soundtrack, and Crumbs will tickle your brain matter. If anything, director Miguel Llansó and co. have created a tale that explores the human condition in an esoteric but beautiful way. If you allow Crumbs in, you will be subject to a strange world that is familiar and alien at the same time.
The Original Homeboy with a Keyboard ™, dap wants to be an enigma, but he’s pretty transparent. A transplant from “Back East,” he found himself in Oakland writing about alla the fun things. He’s in love with the coco(a) (skinned women and butter,) among other things. @dapisdope