Before there was Zimbabwe, there was the “Heavy Metal” scene. In the 1970’s, rock music rang out from Rhodesia’s black townships. Wells Fargo, a black band, was at the heart of a now-forgotten counterculture. In racially segregated Rhodesia, they assaulted multi-racial audiences with a blend of heavy rock that intertwined funk with folkloric melodies. Sadly, at independence, their music was associated with that of the “oppressor.”
Now, in their sunset years, the band’s only surviving members – Never and Ebba – collaborate with the filmmakers. They are transported into a strange place – their psychedelic subconscious – and to physical spaces that summon silhouettes of their past and shadows of their present. However, time has robbed them of their youth. Their short-term memory has begun to falter. Against a backdrop that hints of a historical tragedy, they take us on a journey that, though fragmented, offers us a window into their lives as they search for the men they once were. In the process, the film interrogates the healing power of artistic expression.
Ultimately, A Suitcase of Memories explores how much of what artists tell and do is exhibitionism, and how much of it is a sincere and sometimes painful self-confrontation.