If you want to experience the ingenious energies Accra exudes beyond the layer of gloss or bias that mainstream media puts on it, then you should probably look to any of the productions by Alex Wondergem and Adu Lalouschek. The pair, being of mixed Ghanaian heritage have ties to the city that is the muse for most of their material. They follow up their successful debut, Scrap Metal Men with another documentary titled Warrior’s Gym. The 5-minute short film focuses on a small yet vibrant open-air gym in Teshie, a suburb of Accra, which is home to one of the nation’s most prominent bodybuilders.
Warrior, who has been running the lab for body and mind mechanics for over twelve years, narrates how he goes about designing and fabricating gym equipment from recycled metal as well as aiding friends in his community achieve their fitness goals. The gym serves as a community space where men go about sculpting their bodies into the perfect forms they envision with the help of the shared motivation they all provided each other.
Warrior’s Gym follows Scrap Metal Men in how it also seeks to unearth the dynamics of the city of Accra. The filmmakers look to highlight the level of ingenuity the denizens of this city possess in various tones. In the documentary, they interview Warrior to find out more about his lifestyle, drive and goals, particularly focusing on how he turned his hobby into his profession. Despite its brevity, we are provided with intelligent insights into not just sport of bodybuilding but the metal fortitude it takes to succeed in it. The film does not attempt to be more than just a candid understanding into this little space that is a source of constant energy for a community but presenting a story in exceptional colour and visually captivating scenes. However, the story has the potential to be expanded into a longer project to reveal much more.
Adu Lalouschek and Alex Wondergem will follow up Warrior’s Gym with another documentary on Ga Fishermen, which will conclude their series of shorts on Accra. Watch Warriors Gym below.