Blerd Film Club: Dakan (Destiny) (1997)


Mohamed Camara, a filmmaker from Guinea began making a film with government grants from both Guinea and France. When they learned the film was about two gay men, they pulled the funding. Camara would go on to fund the rest of the film with his own money. Despite protests and attacks from those who felt the film was an abomination, the cast and crew kept going. In 1997, the first film from Sub-Saharan Africa was released to the world, titled Dakan (Destiny). 

The film starts with Manga and Sory in a car kissing and hesitating to take their relationship a step further. Manga gets into an argument with his mother about being gay when he arrives home. She informs them that is impossible for a man to love another man and it has never happened before in the history of the entire world. At school the next day Manga gets jealous as another boy attempts to flirt with Sory. The two argue that night, but consummate their relationship.

Manga once again tells his mother he wants to be with Sory and she attempts to beat him. Sory tells his father, and he's disgusted. He's not disgusted because his son is gay, he's disgusted that he's in love with a poor person most of all. Secondly, he worked hard to put their family into high society and if they knew Sory was gay, the family would be outcasts. The boys try to stay away but find themselves getting close once again.

The issue is seemingly solved when Manga's mother seeks out a priestess to perform withcraft. After spending a night in a graveyard to complete a ritual, Manga is exorcised of the gay demons. However, the gay demons are too strong and he's sent to live in a village of little people where he can be exorcised regularly. When Manga returns to the city after his mother's stroke, Sory has married a woman and had a child. Manga falls in love with his mother's white nurse. There's negative feedback, but they'd rather have him with a white woman than a man. 

Manga attempts to make the relationship work. They have great adventures, he proposes and everyone supports it. He seeks a job as a fisherman but Sory's father now runs the company and tells him to never come near the company again. When Manga attempts to have sex with his fiancĂ©, he can't do it. He said he loves a man, and leaves in search of Sory. 

Despite using witchcraft, distance, forced marriages and all other conversion attempts, both men remained in love. The two were simply born that way. You can't fight it, it's just who people are. Even if you send your son to a remote village full of people with dwarfism and a woman who performs spells on him, he will still be gay. Even if your force your child into a heterosexual relationship to conceive a child, it won't matter. It won't matter, you can't force people to change, and if you can, it's only temporary.

No matter where in the diaspora they land, Black films and television series are copied or inspire white films, and never receive their flowers. Even Black media will tell you about how The Wiz is just a remake of The Wizard of Oz or Queen Latifah did a version of Steel Magnolias. But, nobody wants to talk about how Friends is just Living Single with white people. How films like Repo Man were inspired by Blaxploitation films of the past. I understand that Brokeback Mountain was written based on a short story that released in the same year as Dakan. However, we can't just pretend there are no similarities in the films. Two men fall in love during their youth, split apart due to society, still loving each other they both become involved with women. One man gets confronted about the true status of their relationship and seeks to reunite. The key difference in Dakan is that nobody dies in the end. 

Like film, two stories can follow the same plot and be incredibly different, that's why it's art. I'm not above saying I could be wrong. It is entirely possible that any similarity is coincidence and that nobody involved with Broke Back Mountain has ever seen or heard of Dakan. In which case I'll say, someone in Hollywood has. It feels sick when you think about how so many films in Hollywood are labeled the first of their kind or groundbreaking but their are films that have done it before. Dakan is one of those films. It'll always be there, but history won't acknowledge it. 

You can check out some of my short stories at 12 AM Fiction or if you like vampires follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast if you enjoy pro wrestling.

Blerd Film Club: Dakan (Destiny) (1997) Blerd Film Club: Dakan (Destiny) (1997) Reviewed by Darrell S. on Monday, February 15, 2021 Rating: 5

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