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Wayfinder review – Larry Achiampong’s poetic lockdown odyssey

The Guardian logo The Guardian 03/07/2022 Wendy Ide

Created during lockdown, the latest work from British-Ghanaian artist and film-maker Larry Achiampong is a poetic odyssey, a top-down journey through a near-future England, divided into chapters. It follows a young woman (Perside Rodrigues), known only as the Wanderer, as she travels the country, bearing witness to its iniquities and injustices. Through a fabric of narrating voices, the film touches on race, economic imbalance, the housing crisis and gentrification, among other themes.

The approach is superficially similar to the work of Andrew Kötting, although the playfulness and humour that characterises his travelogues is absent here. There are moments of magic: the loamy folk vocals of artist Mataio Austin Dean, who sings twice in the film, gave me goosebumps. And the film conveys a pervasive sense of melancholy: a kind of real-time bereavement for lives that are increasingly marginalised in the name of progress. But there are moments in which the picture’s wafting lyricism works against it – points that need, or deserve, to be more emphatically made.

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