“Guava Island,” a new film from Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, and starring Rihanna, debuted at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival Friday evening.
The hour-long film follows Deni, an island musician played by Gambino, and Kofi, his love interest, played by Rihanna.
Gambino’s character is the island’s most popular musician. During work, people listen to him play on the radio.
The film takes place over the course of a few days. Gambino sings multiple times throughout the film and performs “This is America” in a warehouse reminiscent of his music video.
While she appears on screen, Rihanna does not sing.
The film follows Deni and his quest to play an evening festival. He is warned by a powerful and wealthy island leader not to play because it would make people miss the following work day. Guava Island is in an undescribed location and is reliant on labor. Deni is offered money not to play and must consider canceling the festival to please the powerful leader or play and risk his life.
The film’s second screening at 8 p.m. Friday evening had less than a dozen attendees. Everyone was required to lock their phones in a pouch before viewing.
It was played on a large screen in a circular theater at a Coachella campground. Throughout the film, images were projected on the walls next to the screen. Sound was piped in from all around, creating an immersive audio experience.
Gambino also performed “Sunshine.”
The film will be shown several times Friday evening and Saturday morning. The circular theater is about four stories high and almost forms a complete circle.
I can’t spoil the ending, but it will undoubtedly leave a mark on fans of Childish Gambino and great cinema.
How to watch ‘Guava Island’
Amazon Prime Video: Saturday at 12:01 a.m. PDT — for free
YouTube: Saturday at 5 p.m. PDT, at youtube.com/coachella
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