Queen of Glory (15)              Sands Film Festival

Bandeto | Insta

This is a project written, directed and starring Nana Mensah, who does an excellent job of carrying off all of these roles.

Her character, Sarah Obeng, is a Ghanaian/American who is just about to pack in her doctorate programme to follow her married lover to Ohio. If you’re the kind of person who becomes invested in a film’s characters, you’ll be yelling at her not to go, it can’t possibly end well.

However, fate steps in with an altogether different tragedy when her mother dies suddenly, leaving Sarah her house and Christian bookstore “King of Glory” in the Bronx. Mensah makes fine use of the location, to the point where the neighbourhood becomes an integral part – indeed, practically a character – in the film.

Sarah’s initial plan to sell up and continue with her chosen course now has a series of obstacles to overcome, and choices must be made. The bookstore has an employee, Pitt, an ex-con with face tattoos, (Meeko Gattuso in scene-stealing form). If he loses this job, he’ll be unable to support his family.

Cue the arrival from Ghana of Sarah’s estranged father, intent onensuring that his ex-wife has her passing recognised, and respect payed to her, in the traditional manner, and moves in to the house with her. It’s a pity that he is portrayed as overly irritating, as we are left feeling Sarah might sell up just to get away from him.

But Sarah and Pitt quickly bond, and as their friendship develops, so does Sarah’s involvement with her neighbours, the diverse backgrounds and ethnicities that whirl around her almost forgotten childhood area captivating her and drawing her, however reluctantly, back in. This culminates in the traditional ceremony for her mother, and, along with a surprising revelation from Pitt, combine to help her reach a decision. One, you feel, she will not regret.

Jim Welsh

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