Simba: The King of the Beasts 1928 Ages 15+

1.00PM Sun 4 Feb 2018 (1hr 27mins)
GOMA | Cinema A | Free

SYNOPSIS

With its dramatic images of charging rhinos, stampeding elephants and other wildlife experiences, Simba: King of the Beasts offered 1920's Western audiences insight into a continent far removed from their every day. Endorsed by The American Museum of Natural History, and financed by Kodak-founder George Eastman, husband and wife team Martin and Osa Johnson set off on a four-year Safari of Africa intent on capturing what was feared to be a vanishing way of life. Helped by people of the Samburu, Boran, Turkana, Meru, Kikuyu, Dorobo, Nandi and Lumbwa tribes, the Johnson's were able to film both the local people and the wildlife around them in a way not previously documented. A mix of travelogue and docudrama – clever editing showing a resourceful Osa Johnson shooting a charging rhino in defense of her husband (it was taken down by a professional hunter on the team) and other narrative flourishes – it portrayed the Johnson's as intrepid adventurers and inspired generations of viewers to dream of an untamed Africa. Fredrick O'Brien, author of White Shadows in the South Seas, cited Martin Johnson's earlier documentary films in the South Seas as a direct influence on his decision to travel to the South Pacific. While the film's intertitles have dated, and the filming of animal hunting does not reflect current expectations of wildlife photography, the film remains a remarkable glimpse into the region and a world still not seen by many. The film features a traditional East African score composed and performed by James Makubuya, a musicologist and teacher at UCLA, showcasing music and instruments from the tribes of East Africa, in particular Kenya where much of Simba was filmed.

CREDITS

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE, MONO, 87 MINUTES, UNITED STATES, ENGLISH INTERTITLES / DIRECTOR: MARTIN E JOHNSON / PRODUCER: DANIEL E POMEROY / BASED ON A STORY BY MARTIN E JOHNSON / CINEMATOGRAPHY: MARTIN E JOHNSON, OSA JOHNSON / EDITORS: MARTIN E JOHNSON, TERRY RAMSAYE / CAST: MARTIN E JOHNSON, OSA JOHNSON / MUSIC: JAMES MAKUBUYA / TRADITIONAL KENYAN FOLK MUSIC PERFORMED BY: JAMES MAKUBUYA, ANNETTE NAKKU, JULIET NABAKKA FEATURING THE INSTRUMENTS 8 OBOKANO (8-STRING BOWL LYRE), ADEUDEU (BOW HARP), MADINDA (XYLOPHONE), AWAL (CALABASH RATTLE), LONG NECKED DRUM AND CONE SHAPED DRUMS. SCORE INCLUDES EAST AFRICAN CARAVAN MUSIC, ANIMAL MUSIC (LARAKARAKA), VILLAGE VOCAL SOLO AND CHORAL MUSIC, DANCE CHORAL MUSIC AND WAR MUSIC / PRODUCTION COMPANY: MARTIN JOHNSON AFRICAN EXPEDITION CORPORATION / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: MILESTONE FILMS / SCREENING FORMAT: DIGITAL VIDEO