TIFF14 REVIEW: Chop My Money [2014]

Score: 7/10 | ★ ★ ★


Rating: NR | Runtime: 13 minutes | Release Date: 2014 (Congo)
Director(s): Theo Anthony
Writer(s): Theo Anthony

“This is my photograph for my family”

Give a street kid in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo some attention with a camera and he’s going to provide you the type of footage perfectly suited for rockstar treatment. Is Theo Anthony glorifying the deeds of Manu Bahiti “Patient” Jean Christophe, warning us outsiders of the hard life children live hustling, or simply giving an unfiltered glimpse of this new Wild West? Chop My Money is a little of all three in descending order because you know Patient and his crew consisting of Guillain Paluku and David Muhindo are reveling in every second they’re given attention. Of all the kid gangsters stealing and brawling, they’re the ones that the Western world is going to meet. So they might as well make it look good.

This is a gorgeous documentary with some stunningly composed shots cut against music by Dirty Beaches. Think Romain Gavras‘ video for Justice‘s “Stress” only completely real and without the senseless violence unto innocent bystanders along the way. We receive a little boxing between adolescent warriors towards the end in a kinetic strobe of physicality, but besides that it’s mostly about showing the confidence and swagger they possess in excess. You know everything Patient says is true, though. This isn’t hyperbole. He’s probably killed before and will kill again somewhere in the pauses from cruising the streets with his boys, smoking and drinking, and grooving to the songs and naked girls his phone’s internet supplies.

And honestly, you get the feeling that if this trio wasn’t out taking for themselves and damning the consequences, they more than likely wouldn’t have been alive to be the subjects of a short film. It’s survival of the fittest and it begins straight out of the womb.


photography:
courtesy of TIFF

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