For a large segment of attendees, a confirmed early highlight of weekend 1 of Coachella 2019 is the release of Guava Island. The secretly crafted film from Atlanta director Hiro Murai, featuring frequent collaborator Donald Glover alongside Rihanna, will also be made available this weekend on Amazon Prime. But first, a select group was given a preview screening of the film on Coachella grounds.
Per the New York Times' rundown of Thursday night's screening, Guava Island runs "a brisk 54 minutes" and uses Gambino's music to drive the story. The film focuses on a singer named Deni, played by Glover, who runs into some pushback from an "island tycoon" when trying to put together a music festival. Rihanna, meanwhile, plays Kofi, Deni's girlfriend. She does not sing in the film.
Musically, we can expect to hear reworked plot-nodding versions of previously released Gambino cuts like "Summertime Magic" and "This Is America," which previously received a blockbuster video from Murai last year. This facet of the production, the Times argued, is the film's "main attraction."
Other reports, including one from the Hollywood Reporter, note the inclusion of animation and "new, short jingles" performed by Glover.
Glover and Rihanna are joined in Guava Island by Nonso Anozie and Letitia Wright. Following Gambino's headlining Coachella set Friday night, the film will be free on Amazon for its first 18 hours on the service.
Purple Rain and City of God have been cited as inspirations for the film, the unique rollout for which is also noteworthy as the latest move among the streaming wars contenders.