Q&A with Hajooj Kuka

Over two years, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka lived alongside farmers, herders, and rebels displaced to the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions, filming their lives within hillside hideouts and refugee camps. Destructive air raids are but occasional moments in an unexpected film, which instead focuses on the vibrant musical heritage of the region: a pulsing lifeblood of cultural resilience in the face of everyday conflict. After a raid, it is not unusual to hear the sound of laughter and music signaling that a strike is over. Young women exert a powerful agency through “Girls’ Music,” and improvised compositions become a wry commentary on the daily injustices of war. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Beats of the Antonov is a celebration of defiant cultural expression and a unique perspective on the complex realities of a divided Sudan.