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Kassim the Dream Numbers M. Jordan Sneak Commercials as Influence

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Kassim the Dream
IFC Films
Directed by Kief Davidson
Opens June 5, IFC Center

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Kassim the Dream's aestheticization of human despair is nearly obscene. Kief Davidson, half of the directing team behind the equally dubious The Devil's Miner, shines a light on Ugandan-born Kassim "the Dream" Ouma, who was kidnapped by his country's rebel army when he was six and trained as a soldier before sneaking into the U.S. on a boxing visa. But rather than elaborate on the sociopolitical malaise Kassim escaped, Davidson simply fixates on the pugilist's braggadocio. Making a pit stop inside the halls of Congress, the light middleweight uses his success as leverage to return to his homeland without reprimand, but his need to reconnect with the country and people he left behind barely registers, drowned out by the film's focus on Kassim's newly adopted hip-hop swagger (he calls Uganda's president his "nigga"). Davidson continuously insists on gussying up reality, rendering black skin as iridescent as blood diamonds and scattering modish, obviously staged B-rolls of people traipsing through presumably Ugandan landscapes into the story of the good-hearted but self-absorbed Kassim's rise to fame. Obvious influences are Edward Zwick's cine-drivel and Michael Jordan sneaker commercials.

 
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