Roger Cantin’s A Cargo for Africa (Un Cargo pour l’Afrique) starts with a great premise: When violence breaks out at an orphanage in Africa, a sixty-something ex-pat man named Norbert, who has worked in Africa for twenty years, is evacuated and flown back to Canada. He has no papers to prove he’s Canadian but he doesn’t care because he wants to get back to Africa and he wants Canada to deport him. Of course that’s not how Citizenship and Immigration Canada sees things and this could have been the start of a great story. Unfortunately, once Norbert gets out of the Immigration office and meets a young runaway boy, the story quickly becomes a predictable tale: lonely man meets lonely boy, lonely man and lonely boy annoy each other, lonely man and lonely boy find redemption in friendship. Nothing new here, although there are some great comic bits—especially in the Immigration office—the shots of the Quebec countryside are stunning, and there’s a funny motorcycle chase in which the bad guys run into each other a couple of times while trying to pursue our heroes. Oh, and there’s a monkey too.
This may just be the feel-good movie of the VIFF.