Fantan Fanga

Director: Ladji Diakité and Adama Drabo
Country: Mali
Year: 2009
Running Time: 90 min.
Language: Bambara

 

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A gang of headhunters decapitate an albino villager, hoping that his body parts will make them rich, especially the head. Creating controversy, the other villages believe this will only bring misfortune. Which will it be, riches or misfortune?

Fanon: Black Skin White Mask

Director: Isaac Julien
Country: UK
Year: 1997
Running Time: 70 min.
Language: English

Interviews, reconstructions and archive footage tell the story of the life and work of the highly influential anti-colonialist writer Frantz Fanon, author of ‘Black Skin, White Mask’ and ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ and his professional life as a psychiatric doctor in Algeria during its war of independence with France.

Faces of Women / Visages de Femmes

Director: Désiré Ecaré
Country: Ivory Coast
Year: 1985
Running Time: 105 min.
Language: French

Structured around the rhythm of a dance, filmmaker Désiré Ecaré weaves a rich tapestry of textures and cadences of life in the Ivory Coast in his film Faces of Women. This film displays in a comedy of manners the changing roles of women in West Africa. In the city, the dishmonger Bernadette finds it difficult to succeed in a market circumscribed by the backward attitudes of men when she tries to convert from a barter-based to a money-based operation. Meanwhile, Fanta learns karate to speak to men in their own language: force. Politically and stylistically adventurous, this two-part film explores the links between feminism, economics and tradition in modern day Africa, ironically pointing out similar patterns in the strategies adopted by women in patriarchal societies.

Ezra

Director: Newton I. Aduaka
Country: Nigeria and France
Year: 2007
Running Time: 110 min.
Language: English

One fateful morning, as seven-year-old Ezra skips on his way to school, he is kidnapped by rebels and taken into the jungle to be trained as a soldier. Seven years later, Ezra sits in front of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he is asked to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of facts from the night of a devastating attack on a village. When Ezra’s mute sister, Onitcha, chooses to reveal a secret she has kept from her brother, what is supposed to be a confession of a former child soldier attempting to find internal peace after the horrors he witnessed, soon becomes a trial for the previously committed combatant in Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war. Ezra was the Winner of the Stallion de Yennenga ñ Fespaco 2007, INALCO Award, and UNFPA Award.

Everyone’s Child

Director: Tsitsi Dangarembga
Country: Zimbabwe
Year: 1995
Running Time: 85 min.
Language: English

Everyone’s Child tells the story of four siblings, Itai, Tamari, Norah and Nhamo, whose parents have both died of AIDS. The villagers, ignoring the usual custom, shun the orphans because of the stigma of AIDS. Their guardian, Uncle Ozias, who is a struggling small businessman, sells the family’s plow and oxen to pay off their father’s debts. Without the means to support themselves, the family disintegrates.

Ethiopian Campaign

Director: Archival Newsreel
Country: Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
Year: 1941
Running Time: 21 min.
Language: English

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Emperor Haile Selassie returns home to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) after his exile during the Italian occupation. British and Indian troops fight against Italians to “liberate a stolen empire,” and Selassie raises the red, green and gold flag.

Enraged By A Picture

Director: Zanele Muholi
Country: South Africa
Year: 2005
Running Time: 14 min.
Language: English

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A photographer, Muholi is celebrating her exhibition in Johannesburg. Efficiently confrontational, the exhibition causes a stir and provokes an outcry on a subject that is particularly taboo: being black, and in this case, being lesbian. Forthright and beautifully shot, each monochrome photo captures the present reality of the photographer’s subjects, the daily discomfort, double lives, abuse and hatred. The photographs present a window into their world. This absorbing documentary explores that world’s reality.

Emotional Crack

Director: Lancelot Imasuen
Country: Nigeria
Year: 2003
Running Time: 105 min.
Language: English

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Emotional Crack displays the major societal influences that essentially eradicates homosexuality, even the very mention of it, from the surface of the country’s culture. However, homosexuality is still there.

Chudi and Crystal are married. However, Chudi, by beating and expecting her to remain in the house, follows a very traditional pressure that is often placed upon the male gender in Africa.  When Chudi finds out that Crystal is homosexual he kicks her out of his home, despite being still married; leaving Crystal in a bad way with her family, who also shun her, and her partner who suddenly doesn’t seem very interested.

Emitaï

Director: Ousmane Sembène
Country:  Senegal
Year: 1971
Running Time: 101 min.
Language: Diola and French

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During WWII, the French army drafted soldiers and commandeered supplies from even the most remote African villages. Emitai is the deceptively simple story of the silent resistence of the Diola tribe to such requisitions. While the elders pray to Emitai, the God of Thunder, the women, more pragmatically, are hiding the rice demanded by the French troops. Under the hot African sun, tensions slowly escalate, until the harrowing, seemingly fated ending. Sembène makes it clear though, that what triggers the French gendarmes’ anger is less of the concealing of supplies than the villagers’ firm resolve to carry out a funeral ceremony despite military orders.

Drum

Director: Zola Maseko
Country: South Africa
Year: 2004
Running Time: 104 min.
Language: English, Afrikaans, and German

Drum depicts Sophiatown in the 1950s, a vibrant place full of music, love, and laughter, and the breeding ground for resistance. Set in Johannesburg during the era of Big Band Jazz, this film captures a period when a generation of courageous South African writers, critics, musicians and journalists emerged, intermingling with Shebeen queens, and tsotsismin loud shirts and wide brimmed hats. The popular Drum magazine is the platform for the film, led by Mr Drum Henry Nxumalo; a fun loving, hard-drinking philanderer and hotshot journalist. As Nxumalo gets swept up in the movement to challenge apartheid, his enterprising reportage leads him into direct conflict with South Africa’s apartheid machinery, with fatal consequences.

A Drink In The Passage

In 1960, Edward Simelane won a prize for his remarkable sculpture. He did not know that the contest was strictly for whites. While the committee decided to give him the award, it created a nation-wide outcry. An Afrikaaner man, who is moved by the Simelane’s work, invites him to have a drink, but is suddenly afraid to take him inside his flat. The film shows how class differences and racial prejudice can prevent us reaching, touching, and connecting with each other. This film was adapted for the screen from the Alan Paton story written in 1963 and winner of the special prize for short film at FESPACO. It was also screened at Cannes, the 1st Commonwealth Film Festival, and Zanzibar.

The Draughtmen’s Clash / Le Damier (Papa National Oyé)

 

Director: Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Year: 1996
Running Time: 40 min.
Language: French

The Draughtermen’s Crash tells the story of the president of a fictitious African nation who spends a sleepless night playing checkers with a pot-smoking vagabond who claims to be the all-round champion. However, the rules of the game entail the opponents howling vulgar and foul obscenities at one another. The champion proceeds to insult, and trounce, the President. His reward, and his fate, will not surprise anyone.

Don’t F— With Me, I have 51 Brothers and Sisters

 

Director: Dumisani Phakathi
Country: South Africa
Year: 2004
Running Time: 86 min.
Language: English and Zulu

This film is the story of Dumisani’s epic journey to find his 51 siblings and come to terms with the loss of his father as a child. Critics have compared this film to jazz music with bursts of joy and pain that allow the viewer to feel the family’s triumph over loss and longing. This film is as much the story of South Africa in search of its origins as it is Dumisani’s.

Dirt for Dinner / Dreckfresser

Director: Branwen Okpako
Country: Germany
Year: 2000
Running Time: 75 min.
Language: German

In her accomplished graduation film, Branwen Okpako probes the conscience of the liberal establishment, uncovering the complex motivation of the high-profile politicians and journalists who both befriended and exploited Sam Meffire. From Sam’s German mother, we get the stranger-than-fiction story of Sam’s father and of the boy’s childhood in East Germany. Sam himself, currently serving a ten year prison sentence for robbery, gives an eloquent insight into his own tragic fate.

Dinka Diaries

Director: Filmon Mebrahtu
Country: USA
Year: 2005
Running Time: 56 min.
Language: English

Over the course of ten months, this film follows the lives of three Sudanese refugees who resettle in the Philadelphia area and adjust to the new American culture and way of life.

Deluge: Ye Wonz Maibel

Director: Salem Mekuria
Country: Ethiopia
Year: 1996
Running Time: 61 min.
Language: Amharic

Deluge is a visual essay that tells the story of Ethiopian students and their struggle to bring change in the political and social landscape during the 1970’s. It is a tale in which the children of this ancient land abandoned their history, culture and identity and pinned their hopes on a foreign ideology.

Denying Brazil / A Negacao Do Brasil

Director: Joel Zito Araújo
Country: Brazil
Year: 2000
Running Time: 92 min.
Language: Portuguese

A documentary film about the taboos, stereotypes and struggles of black actors in the Brazilian Television “soaps.” The director based on his own memories and on a sturdy body of research evidence, analyzes race relations in Brazilian soap operas, calling attention to the influence this might have on black people’s identity-forming processes.

Denko

Director: Mohamed Camara
Country: Guinea
Year: 1992
Running Time: 15 min.
Language: English

Mariama is a poor woman whose son Bilaly is blind. Both are rejected by fellow villagers. One day Mariama saves a drowning man, Samba, who turns out to be an albino with healing powers. He offers to help restore Bilaly’s eyesight. The price she has to pay is great but she resigns herself to an act of incest in order to save her son.

Delwende

Director: Pierre Yameogo
Country: Burkina Faso
Year: 2005
Running Time: 90 min.
Language: Moré and French

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In some parts of West Africa, women accused of witchcraft are torn from their families and banished to witch villages where they remain for the rest of their lives. Delwende is based on a true story about a woman driven out of her village after being wrongly accused of being a witch. On hearing the plight of her mother, Pogoubila travels to Ougadougou in search of her, determined to expose the hidden family secrets and clear her mother’s name. Like Sembène’s Moolaadé, this is a story of a mother and daughter that focuses on the human costs of traditional practices and women’s struggle for justice. A sensitively crafted human drama is told in the evocative music and voice of the Senegalese artist Wasis Diop.

Death of Two Sons

Director: Micah Schaffer
Country: USA and Guinea
Year: 2006
Running Time: 64 min.
Language: English, French, and Pulaar

Stunningly shot, this documentary examines the political, personal, and spiritual implications of the 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo and the death less than a year later of Jesse Thyne, an American Peace Corps volunteer, who lived and worked with Diallo’s family in his home village in Guinea.