For anyone who has ever received an e-mail sent from an unknown
African correspondent promising love or riches, this fly-on-the-wall
documentary about young internet scammers in Abidjan is as enlightening
as it is provocative. The film follows Rolex the Portuguese,
an ambitious smooth talker who has recently returned to his home
in Ivory Coast after trying and failing to strike it rich in neighboring
Burkina Faso. Rolex and his buddies spend their days huddled around
laptop screens, trying to lure European women into online relationships
in hopes of scamming them out of their money. Director Joël
Akafou follows these young men from the stripped-down rooms where
they operate their scams to their family homes and the nightclubs of
Abidjan, creating a fascinating portrait of a resourceful and scrappy,
fun-loving and money-mad set of young Ivorians. But his film also
raises thorny questions about the European colonial legacy and the
moral compass of a young generation with few opportunities: while
Rolex and his friends justify their scams as a way of collecting on the
European debt to former colonies, their elders encourage them to
find salvation in religion. In true direct cinema style, Akafou delivers
no judgment, relying instead on the immediacy of his filmmaking to
create a tension between empathy and aversion.

Joël Akafou

French & Dyula
54 min. (26 min. per episode)
France, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, 2017
DVD, HD mp4, Blu-Ray

Torch Films