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African films @ The 53rd London film Festival 14-29 0ct 2009

Fire of Mansaré (Director, Mansour Sora Wade. Senagal)
Mon 19| 20:30| NFT2,
Tue 20| 16:15| NFT3,
Fri 23| 16:30| Ritzy Screen 2

Mansour Sora Wade presents a story about desire, choice and the freedom (or lack of it) of young people forced into a traditional practice where a male tags a girl at birth for marriage in adulthood.

Known mainly for his award-winning short films, Mansour Sora Wade delivers a second feature film as a story about desire, choice and the freedom (or lack of it) of young people forced into a traditional practice where a male tags a girl at birth for marriage in adulthood. Mathias returns triumphant to Mansaré, his native city, after having amassed a fortune abroad over a few years.


The Absence  (Directed by Mama Keita. Senagal and France)
Thu 15| 20:30| NFT2
Fri 16| 16:00| NFT2
An intense drama of loss, solitude, love and hope.

October 12, 2009 Posted by | africa, african, world cinema, film festival, entertainment, feature films | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heart of Fire – playing at ICA (London) from Sep 25th -8,10-11 Oct


A drama about Eritrean child soldiers from the director of The Story of the Weeping Camel, inspired by the controversial memoir by Senait G Mehari.

The father of 10-year-old Awet (beautifully played by Letekidan Micael) hands her over to the Eritrean Liberation Front (known as the Jebha), where she falls under the influence of a charismatic leader, although her size prevents her from being a fully fledged part of the rebel militia. A powerful film that, by focusing on one story, attempts to represent the experiences of child soldiers everywhere.

dir Luigi Falorni, Germany/Austria 2008, 97 mins, 35mm, subtitles:
released by Metrodome: an exclusive new release

September 18, 2009 Posted by | africa, african, world cinema, film festival | , , | 3 Comments

Emerging African Directors’ Films Compete in Scotland

By Katie Miller

Published October 7, 2009


Seven short films by up-and-coming young African filmmakers have been short-listed for the 2nd annual Africa in Motion (AiM) short film competition in Scotland. KATIE MILLER writes.


The films—spanning fiction and documentary—come from across the continent and include: a silent and visually stunning experimental short from South Africa; a Tunisian love story set in an unlikely place; a passionate tale of courage in a Mozambiqan fishing village; a haunting South African tale of three friends harbouring a dark secret; a beautifully shot story about outsiders in a Moroccan village; a superbly acted story of a Rwandan friendship tested to its true limits; and a Malian exploration of freedom and independence.


The films short-listed are:    Continue reading

October 8, 2009 Posted by | africa, african, world cinema, film festival | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On-line African Film Library Launched

This is fantastic news and I am very excited. All you have to do is register to access all these films.


afri lib


Late last week, M-Net launched the African Film Library – the largest electronic library of feature films, shorts and documentaries from 50 years of African film production. Over the past three years, M-Net has been negotiating the rights to almost 600 works in English, French, Arabic and Portuguese and digitising them.


The African Film Library, launched on Wednesday, 23 September 2009, consists of award-winning works from more than 80 filmmakers including Senegalese Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Mambety, Yousef Chahine from Egypt, Kwaw Ansah from Ghana and Haile Gerima from Ethiopia.

Continue reading

October 6, 2009 Posted by | africa, african, world cinema, film festival | , , , | 1 Comment

A Conversation with Filmmaker Haile Gerima


Above: Haile Gerima, the internationally acclaimed director of
Teza, Sankofa, Adwa, Bush Mama and other feature films and
documentaries. (Photo by Gezaw Tesfaye).

Tadias Magazine
By Martha Z. Tegegn

Published: Thursday, September 17, 2009

New York (Tadias) – For filmmaker Haile Gerima the travails of life are much like moving images – “a constant journey of restlessness and complexity, until the final rest.”

Haile’s latest film Teza is set to make it U.S. premiere in Washington D.C. tonight. The film focuses on the tumultuous years of the Mengistu era, as told by an idealistic Ethiopian doctor who recounts dreams and nightmares.

Trailer –

We spoke with Haile at his Sankofa bookstore, conveniently located across from Howard University where he has been teaching film since 1975.

Continue reading

September 24, 2009 Posted by | africa, african, world cinema, film festival, entertainment, feature films, interview | , , , | Leave a comment

Africa in Motion Film Festival – Edinburgh 22 Oct to 1 Nov 2009

My-Secret-Sky4 ‘My Secret sky’ will open the festival.

Africa in Motion 2009 features 60 films from 22 African countries; shorts, documentaries and features, old and new, with over 20 UK premieres.

The festival opens with the UK premiere of the acclaimed South African feature film My Secret Sky.  Continue reading

September 22, 2009 Posted by | africa, african, world cinema, film festival | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Recovering The Rose of Rhodesia (1918)


Live streaming –

Music composed and played by Matti Bye and Kristian Holmgren.  Click here for English translation of Intertitles (Appendix B).

 Early Africa film gem goes online

Wed, 16 Sep 2009

 The Rose of Rhodesia (1918), one of the earliest feature films made in South Africa, went online on 10 September at the website of Australian film journal Screening the Past.

A five-reel romance centred on a stolen diamond, an interracial friendship, and an anti-colonial uprising, The Rose of Rhodesia impressed contemporary reviewers with its daring realism, spectacular outdoor locations, and casting of African actors in prominent roles. Considered lost for most of the last century, the film may claim to be the first fictional treatment of Zimbabwe in cinema.

Now fully restored by the Nederlands Filmmuseum, The Rose of Rhodesia is being streamed together with a new musical soundtrack by acclaimed silent film composer Matti Bye. Accompanying the film is a special issue of Screening the Past, edited by Stephen Donovan and Vreni Hockenjos, in which specialists from a range of disciplines offer the first detailed analysis of this remarkable cinematic discovery.

September 18, 2009 Posted by | africa, african, world cinema, film festival | , , | Leave a comment

Animation short – The Tale of How

Created by The Blackgang crew, South Africa.

September 18, 2009 Posted by | africa, african, world cinema, film festival | Leave a comment

The Day God Walked Away (Toronto Film Festival 2009, 18 -19 Sept.)



 “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”—Milan Kundera


    The brief history of films about the 1994 Rwandan genocide seem to range wildly, from glossy Oscar bait like Hotel Rwanda to the intimate, poetic beauty of Lee Isaac Chung’s Munyurangabo to the damning documentary Shake Hands With The Devil.  But a look under the hood shows the most difficult truth about these films, whether they feature a big name movie star, a foreigner directing local non-actors or reportage on the moral failings of the international community; most of the films about the Rwandan genocide feature a distinctly Western touch and, unable to capture the emotional experience of the genocide itself, refract the issue of the Rwandan experience through the lens of something akin to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Even the brilliant Munyurangabo, which focuses on reconciliation in the years after the genocide, is only able to capture the ghostly remnants of those actual, murderous days, and Hotel Rwanda puts the murder on the other side of an iron fence, creating something akin to a Schindler’s List for the Tutsi people. Cinema has proven wholly inadequate as a substitute for memory in telling the story of the murderous rampage that took place in Rwanda.

The Day God Walked Away, directed by the Belgian cinematographer Philippe van Leeuw (making his debut), takes a massive step forward in using the language of cinema to convey the horror of the genocide.  Instead of making the genocide a pretext for grand statements about personal responsibility or the cultural and tribal conflicts that drove the Hutu majority to murder their Tutsi neighbors en masse, van Leeuw forgoes psychology, culture and the massive scale of death, distilling the genocide into the experience of a single Tutsi woman named Jacqueline (Rwandan pop star Ruth Niere, making a powerful debut).

In his writing on the film, van Leeuw describes his inspiration for the story; “In April 1992, some friends of mine returned from Rwanda following the emergency evacuation… Before they left, they hid Jacqueline, their children’s Rwandan nanny, in the attic of their house in Kigali, hoping that she would escape the massacre. They never knew what became of her.”

Thus begins van Leeuw’s film, which the imagines the genocidal experience from Jacqueline’s perspective; Hiding Anne Frank-like in a dirty attic while the Hutu militas search the home of her employers.

        Rest here:

September 17, 2009 Posted by | africa, african, world cinema, film festival | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When will we start taking African cinema seriously?


Out of Africa … Ousmane Sembene directing Fatoumata Coulibaly in Mooladé.

Photograph: Artificial Eye

The view:

Only a handful of films from Africa have enjoyed British theatrical release in the last decade.

It feels a little quaint to be writing about African cinema at the height of another long blockbuster summer, with the studios’ big beasts hoovering up attention and everything smaller than Harry Potter parched for an audience. There again, it would feel much the same to be writing about African cinema at any point of the year. Even by the standards of the arthouse, its status as a niche interest is so pronounced that its very mention is enough, I’m sure, to have a certain section of readers rolling their eyes and muttering about the kind of thing the Guardian likes to bang on about. Continue reading

September 16, 2009 Posted by | 1 | , , | Leave a comment