Ashong Katai wants to use the Ghanese/Dutch film See You Amsterdam
to expose the myth that riches are simply here for the picking.
The film can be seen in November in the Netherlands during the
Culture Adrift ( Cultuur op Drift ) festival. In Ghana
the film will premiere in the capital on 21 November. A bus with
musicians advertising the film will drive through the streets and
a few boys will attempt to sell the video tapes of the film to
as many passers-by as possible.
This is how films are sold in Ghana, during a so-called 'float'.
Soap films are very popular and See You Amsterdam can be classified
in this genre . The film was filmed on video, short scenes with
pithy dialogues tell the story, which is full of intrigue, love
still from See You Amsterdam (photo Jean Hellwig)
The Ghanese Nana Ama is on the way to the U.S., but because she
has false papers, she gets no further than Amsterdam. She is taken
in by the Ghanese community in the Bijlmer and finds work. This
is the only aspect of her stay that works out easily. Nana is cheated
by a Ghanese woman who refuses to pay her the black wages she has
earned. The police raid the hotel where she works and arrest a
number of illegal immigrants. Luckily for Nana, she arrives just
late enough that day to miss the raid.
Intrigues abound in the character's love lives, too. Nana meets
the Ghanese man Kweku, who returns from a trip home to Ghana to
announce that he has married another woman, who in turn cheats
on him as soon as she arrives in the Netherlands. Nana lives with
the Ghanese man Mike, who has just had to end his marriage with
a Dutch woman.
Nana's Ghanese friends criticise her for emigrating. 'It is scandalous
that so many people abandon their homeland', and 'everyone thinks
he can earn money and demands his percentage'. The fight between
Kweku and his wife's boyfriend, in which Kweku is almost killed,
is a dramatic climax that underscores the film's moral that life
is not moonlight and roses.
In spite of all this See You Amsterdam is not a morbid film, because
of the optimism of the Ghanese characters, who always find something
to laugh about. However, the message is quite clear. Nana and her
boyfriend understand; they go back to Ghana, to the place where
they feel most at home.
Marrigje de Bok