Larry Achiampong (director)
01 July 2022 (released)
30 June 2022
Having written and directed a number of shorts Wayfinder is British-Ghanian artist Larry Achiampong's debut feature and it is a frustrating experience.
It follows the Wanderer (Perside Rodrigues) as she travels from the north to the south of England, during or after a pandemic (this was filmed during the current one). On her travels she encounters folk singers, sports people while stopping of in places that have a particular resonance.
Housing estates, Wolverhampton FC, to a café in Bethnal Green London, with a funfair thrown in for good measure. As she travels the Wanderer explores racism, prejudice the legacy of slavery and what the future may have for the people.
With the various headings Wayfinder feels more like a series of vignettes with the Wanderer as the viewers’ guide. As such it doesn’t look very cohesive and it stutters. There’s an attempt to instil an otherworldliness about the film as the Wanderer travels though it’s more one of confusion trying to mesh the scenes. Watched as a whole it lacks a sense of cohesion and continuity
Having said that, there are some excellent sequences for example in the National Gallery examining the imperial past of the UK through paintings that equally could condemn or celebrate it and the legacy. More interesting is the conversation in a café between Maa Afua and Russell Tovey. It’s disorientating as we can only hear them but the viewer notes that their food and beverage, through stills, is being consumed in the Wanderer’s presence.
It feels like a meditation or a piece of writing that has been adapted for film maybe too literally to its source, with its scope not quite realised or adjusted for the big screen.