Netflix's 'Beasts of No Nation' director says he's tired of people calling it an 'issue film'

Beasts of No Nation Idris ElbaNetflix‘Beasts of No Nation.’

Set in an unnamed African country crippled by civil war, Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation” depicts an area of the world that’s dealing with political and economic failures of gargantuan proportion.

But the film’s director, Cary Joji Fukunaga, will be the first to tell you that that’s not the reason he made it.

“I don’t want it to be seen as the issue being the forefront,” Fukunaga recently told Business Insider. “It’s not waving a flag, it’s about this kid and this kid’s experience.”

The movie’s story, based on the novel by Uzodinma Iweala, follows a young boy named Agu (Abraham Attah) who, after seeing his family killed at the hands of militants, is taken in by a group of guerrilla fighters and becomes a child soldier.

Cary Joji Fukunaga Kevin Winter GettyKevin Winter/GettyCary Fukunaga.

After reading Iweala’s book, Fukunaga felt compelled to tell the story of Agu, who he believes stands out more than where the story is set.

“For me it’s no different than any story anywhere in the world — it’s about a kid who had to figure out how to function on his own when everything is taken away from him,” Fukunaga said. “That’s not an issue film, that’s a survival film.

But Fukunaga is most annoyed by comments that “Beasts of No Nation” is “‘another child-soldier film,’ like there’s a huge amount of child-solider films, like there are too many,” he said.

“You can’t lump all these stories together,” Fukunaga continued. “If you look at the child-soldier movies of the last 10 years, they are all different. You can’t say ‘War Witch‘ is like ‘Johnny Mad Dog‘ is like ‘Beasts of No Nation.’ People that lump them together have a very limited perspective of the world.”

“Beasts of No Nation” is currently playing in select theatres and streaming on Netflix.

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