A-List: Director Cary Fukunaga on posting Beasts of No Nation
By Iain Blair
cinematographer Cary Fukunaga has literally been one of the hottest — and coldest — directors in the business, thanks to making shorts, docs and movies everywhere from the Arctic Circle to Haiti
to East Africa.
Now he’s hot again, in every sense of the word, having written/directed/
produced and shot the harrowing new war drama
Beasts of No Nation, set in the sweltering lands of West Africa, and shot in Ghana. It tells the story of Agu (Abraham Attah), a young villager, whose happy family life and childhood are shattered when army troops from the capital city arrive to squelch a rebellion against the country’s corrupt regime.
After seeing his father and brother killed, he escapes to the forest where he’s discovered by a company of young rebels led by the charismatic Commandant (Idris Elba). There, he undergoes a gauntlet of harsh treatment, initiation rituals and fiery speeches from the Commandant, and as the ragtag army sets off on a series of battles, Agu is eventually promoted from ammo carrier to rifle-toting soldier, gaining respect but losing his innocence as he’s turned into a killing machine. The film is available exclusively on
I spoke with Fukunaga — whose credits include his acclaimed feature-writing and directing debut
Sin Nombre, Jayne Eyre and the first season of HBO’s crime drama
True Detective (for which he won the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series) — about making the film, post and his respect for film sound.
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