Wah-Wah is a semi-autobiographical 'coming of age at the end of an Age' story, told through the eyes of young Ralph Compton. Set during the last gasp of the British Empire in Swaziland, South East Africa, in 1969, the plot focuses on the dysfunctional Compton family whose gradual disintegration mirrors the end of British rule.
As an 11 year-old, Ralph witnesses his mother's adultery with his father's best friend. His parents divorce and Ralph is sent to boarding school. Harry Compton not only loses his wife and best friend, but also his position as Minister of Education with the coming of Independence, prompting his rapid descent into alcoholism.
Now 14, Ralph returns home to discover that his father has re-married an American ex-airhostess called Ruby whom he has known all of six weeks. As round a peg as you could find in this square-holed society, Ruby ridicules the petty snobbery of colonial life by identifying colonial-speak as sounding like a load of old 'Wah-Wah'. Although Ralph is initially wary of Ruby, he bonds with her as his father's drinking escalates dangerously out of control.
Emotions climax against the backdrop of Swazi independence. Ralph throws himself into an amateur production of Camelot as a means to escape his hellish home life, falls in love and in the process begins to make sense of his turbulent relationship with his parents.
- Type of film
- Running Time
- 96 mins
- Richard E Grant 1st Feature
- Julia Blackman, Joel Phiri, Jeremy Nathan
- Isabelle Dedieu
- Richard E Grant
- Director of Photography
- Pierre Aïm AFC
- Production Designer
- Gary Williamson
- Dominique Levert
- Patrick Doyle
- Principal Cast
- Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Julie Walters, Emily Watson, Nicholas Hoult, Celia Imrie
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Last updated 7th September 2006