Tribeca 2015: Stranded in Canton
A Congolese farmer with hopes of cashing in on a trade deal finds himself stuck in Guangzhou when an order on political t-shirts is complete months after the Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential elections. An immigrant in a distant, unfamiliar land, Lebrun (Lebrun Iko Isibangi) struggles to adapt to life in Canton and the foreign culture surrounding him. The comedic docudrama Stranded in Canton, from Swedish artist Måns Månsson, is holding its North American Premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival; however, its intriguing premise is hindered by the inertia of its story.
Lebrun approaches his potential business transactions with little forethought. Arriving in China with big dreams but few practical skills, his hopefulness gets in the way of his entrepreneurial aspirations. Lebrun invests all his energy into half-baked ideas without a suitable backup plan to which he can revert. As his attempts continue to fail, Lebrun maintains a frustratingly unfazed outlook. His friends and acquaintances offer him advice, but Lebrun ignores their suggestions, determined to prove his worth as a businessman.
The eclectic cast of characters, as well as the unique perspective into burgeoning trade markets between Asia & Africa, provide a compelling backdrop for Stranded in Canton’s story, but the way the film belabors its central conflict grows tiring. There’s little developing within Stranded in Canton, and not much mood to reflect on. Måns Månsson’s movie is an inert examination into the life of an ineffectual would-be trader.