Cameroon is the setting of this rich introspective work on modern Africans. Vacances Au Pays is a documentary journey, defining the scope of a malaise that should cross the mind of educated Africans. To be modern where it counts most, is the key.
Jean-Marie Teno is our guide to paysages of Cameroon, as he travels from Yaounde to his village of Bandjoun. He is revisiting his roots, leaving behind the modernity that endowed him with western education and opened doors to travel abroad.You will be moved by the gifts that modernity delivered to Cameroon. The intelligentsia of Cameroon, was the secret weapon of parents, enduring colonial brutality to allow their children to access educational opportunities. These Moses raced for modern education, knowing they would pull their people from debilitating backward ways into modernity. Are you still representing your senders? This is the crucial question of the film.
Clean water, electricity and transportation that rival the capital of Yaounde are some of the trophies of modern living, introduced to villagers. On the way to Bandjoun, villagers and modernisers regale Jean-Marie Teno, with anecdotes of how modernity is conquering archaic practices and reforming communities’ fate.
Modernity is laced with Consumption, which was off-limit in the past. Achievements of the educated, returning to rescue their villages, are communicated through consumption. The torch of the civilizing mission is carried high and far, by disciples of modernity, our educated Africans. This black intelligentsia is present throughout Africa and the African diaspora, enforcing modernization mandates on communities, that sacrificially launched their destinies.
Our agents of progress face an impasse; their education destroyed identification, with their communities. You will see sponsors-attracting educated people, who are weaker for having ran the race to modernity. Their price is a mirage of consumption, instead of community empowerment.
Perhaps, the illiterate counsel of elders had a better, custom-fitted education. Vacances Au Pays offers no solution to the malaise of the disillusioned or oblivious intelligentsia. This is a trip to reason spanning a village, Yaounde and every part of the world, where Africans still race for education.
We need to be educated. But, what kind of education benefits Africans’ imperatives, most? When you uproot a tree, nothing is left to build from. A Trip to the Country implores us to take a compte-rendu of modernity and address some barbaric consequences of western education, to African people.
Cinematography: Moussa Diakite, Jean-Marie Teno