Functionalists on the Moon (2021 film)

Functionalists on the Moon
Gaullican: Fonctionnalistes sur la Lune
Functionalists on the Moon poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySayat Lene
Produced bySayat Lene
Written bySayat Lene
Screenplay bySayat Lene
Music byMire Siyaad
CinematographyLabuu Moti
Edited byAnasi Beekan
Gond Films
Distributed by321 Cinema
Release date
  • 2 October 2021 (2021-10-02) (Montecara Film Festival)
Running time
67 Minutes


The film is set in Debre Markos (modern Lehir) in Yemet in 1934 and opens with a Gaullican officer informing Lieutenant Jayte (Hakim Aron) that the war is over on the dockside of Debre Markos. Jayte is visibly confused by the news, and leaves the officer to board a ship to return him to Gaullica. He meets with a group of fellow Tirailleurs Bahiens in a small officer's club with a view over the port of Debre Markos, where a Gaullican fleet visibly sits at anchor. The other officers, Captain Qaasin (Kidane Maren) and Lieutenant Qeyd (Wedu Anwar), are also visibly confused and worried by the news. Qaasin claims that the surrender is a lie and defeatism, and that they must report it to their commanding officer, General Baillieu (Jan Singer).

General Baillieu confirms that Gaullica has surrendered, and that he will be departing shortly to return to Gaullica. The claim is, again, ridiculed by the three Bahian officers, who point out that they have never been defeated in battle and have conquered much of Bahia and wonder why they have surrendered. General Baillieu, increasingly irritated, retorts that Gaullica has been occupied by the Grand Alliance and that he has his orders to surrender. The officers point out that he is the highest authority in Haute-Gond and that he has hundreds of thousands of men still willing to fight in addition to a sizable fleet in the form of the Gaullican Vehemens Ocean Fleet and the Bahian Squadron, and that to surrender while still being in possession of a formidable force is both dishonourable and cowardly. General Baillieu, angry, snaps and orders the men out of his office, exclaiming that they 'might as well be on the Moon right now for all the good they are to Gaullica.'

Wondering what will become of them now, and wary of the irate general, the three officers return to the Bahian officer's club they had been at earlier, where they are served by Raxmo Gari (Dirra Nuur), a waitress. They continue their earlier conversation, and discuss the fate of themselves. Jayte explains that he signed up based on stories from his grandfather, who fought in the Tirailleurs Bahiens before their downsizing following the Sougoulie, and cannot understand why they are simply being ordered to surrender. Qeyd suggests that it is due to the Gaullicans disregarding them for being black, believing they are naturally inferior to white troops and ignoring their string of victories, which meets a rumble of approval from the other two officers.

Raxmo, overhearing their conversation while serving drinks, politely suggests that they fight regardless of what the Gaullicans say, which gets shocked reactions from the three officers, never having considered the proposition. Gradually turning to each other, they nod in approval. Qeyd points out that as General Baillieu said, they might as well be on the Moon if the Grand Alliance wants to invade Haute-Gond and defeat them. The four speak for a while while Raxmo serves them, debating what loyalty and honour requires them to do. The three men eventually leave the club to speak to their subordinates and fellow Bahian officers.

The film cuts to the sun rising over the Vehemens Ocean, and a flag-lowering ceremony at General Baillieu's headquarters as he prepares to leave depart the colony. The ceremony is interrupted by a column of soldiers led by Captain Qaasin, who demands that General Baillieu give him the flag. General Baillieu refuses and moves to draw his sidearm, calling Qaasin and his men mutineers, but Qaasin's men level their rifles at Baillieu and his small bodyguard of Gaullican marines. Qaasin calls Baillieu a coward and a traitor, and that he is proud to be a mutineer rather than a coward. Reluctantly relenting, Baillieu gives the flag to Lieutenant Jayre, who hoists the flag upside-down. Jayre declares that just because Baillieu has given up the fight doesn't mean they will, and that they will choose their own fates rather than being dragged into surrender while still being able to fight. General Baillieu is escorted to his ship as the Gaullican fleet leaves, setting sail back to Euclea to be disarmed and scrapped.

Watching as the fleet sails away, Qaasin remarks that they never did ask what the terms of surrender were. Jayre retorts that they don't matter, and that surrender while one man bears arms is cowardice. Qeyd nods approvingly while gesturing around them, saying 'this is ours now, and let the Euclean try and take it from us again now we have taken it back.' The film ends with the Gaullican fleet disappearing over the horizon, and another fleet approaching while the three officers watch.



Development, writing and casting



Sound Design