Based on the 2013 memoir from William Kamkwamba, Chiwetel Ejiofor brings us his directorial debut in a made for Netflix, BBC and BFI film.
The Boy who Harnessed the Wind tells the remarkable and heartwarming true story of a teenage boy who provides electricity and water for his Village in Malawi during a devastating drought.
Ejiofor brings us a multi layered film, intertwining global issues with a deeply compelling family and community focused drama. This isn’t a film that falls into the trap of simple storytelling, it is not afraid to challenge, while maintaining its family film credentials at the core.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind offers us a window into communities where education can truly set people free, and yet is so often denied due to poverty of opportunity. The exploration of the interface between technology and community tradition is beautifully constructed, as are the overlapping themes of an unequal global economy. Cinematography is bright and full of colour, every scene reflecting the surroundings perfectly, leading to a feeling of honesty in its portrayal of community and place. This honesty is further developed through the use of English and Chichewa to tell the story.
Performances are strong, especially from the young lead Maxwell Simba, who owns the screen with a subtle and emotive performance. Ejiofor as his beleaguered yet passionate father offers the film gravitas, his scenes alongside Simba demonstrating the generational and educative gap.
This is a film of hope over adversity that is warm, endearing and challenging. It’s sense of place, time and culture are beautifully constructed and delivered. A remarkable true story that is brought to the big screen with care and love.