Ha ha, it’s Burl, here to review an African version of Prince’s 1984 picture Purple Rain! That’s another movie I know strictly by its Mad Magazine parody, so I was worried that I wouldn’t be getting all the enjoyment I could from Rain the Color of Red With A Little Blue In It, which is a remake of the Prince film, or a tribute anyway, shot recently in Niger!
It’s the story of Mali-born guitarist Mdou Moctar, playing himself! Mdou is almost thirty, but here I guess he’s meant to be playing a version of himself as a teenager! Ha ha, I didn’t realize it until a scene where he argues with his dad, who hates the idea of his son being a musician! And this is but one of the obstacles Mdou faces!
He’s also the new guy in town, the town in this case being Agadez, in central Niger! The local hotshot guitar player is a guy called Kader, and eventually a rivalry springs up between these two! Kader manages to steal Mdou’s new song, which Mdou had been saving specially for an upcoming Battle of the Bands being held to determine who is really the best guitarist in Agadez! In the meantime, Mdou has met a pretty girl, and is wooing her with trips into the desert riding pillion on his purple motorcycle! He almost loses this girl by acting like a jerk later on, but his music redeems him, and also solves the problems with his father! Good times, ha ha!
The story offered by Rain the Color of Red With A Little Blue In It is pretty basic, but the culture depicted within is fascinating! Ha ha, I hate to sound all anthropological, but the most valuable thing this movie offers, besides Mdou Moctar himself, is a crazy peek into the musical scene found in and around the Sahara! It’s all about trading and even listening to music by cell phone, the informal network by which Moctar became famous in the first place! “You’ve heard him on your cellphones, and now here he is in front of us!” cries the MC at whatever show or event he’s playing!
Despite the melodrama (in the truest sense) and the sometimes stilted acting or more likely because of these things, the seventy-five minute movie is consistently and thoroughly entertaining! The music is terrific, and the songs are all about peace and love! I’m not sure how closely it hews to the story of Purple Rain, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter whether you’ve seen that one or not: Rain the Color of Red With A Little Blue In It is a fun and culturally fascinating picture any way you slice it! I give this musical motion picture three headscarves!