Harvest 3000 Years

Director: Haile Gerima
Country: Ethiopia
Year: 1975
Running Time: 150 min
Language: Amharic

Harvest 3000 Years

Based in the U.S., Haile Gerima returned to his native Ethiopia to shoot this massive, staggering reflection on Ethiopia amidst the collapse of Haile Selassie’s uncaring regime prior to the military takeover.

Tenants work in various capacities on a farm riddled with echoes of feudal colonialism.Work is treated neutrally; it isn’t sanctified, in the silent Soviet manner, or identified with oppression. Rather, it is the landlord, equipped with an absolute sense of entitlement, and the social structure he represents that attach oppressed lives to the farm laborers. Indolent (he even has to be “shoed” by a servant to be ready for church), the landlord berates the shoeless farmers for indolence—a charge that images of their field and other labor piercingly refute.

The Harder They Come

Director: Perry Henzell
Country: Jamaica
Year: 1972
Running Time: 90 min
Language: English and Jamaican Patois

Ivan (played by Jimmy Cliff), an aspiring young singer, leaves his rural village for the capital city of Kingston hoping to make a name for himself. Robbed of his money and possessions his first day in town, Ivan records a song for an unscrupulous music mogul, Mr. Hilton, who exploits naïve young artists because he controls the business. When Ivan’s song becomes a hit but he sees none of the money, the simple country boy turns outlaw.

At war with both the police and rivals in the ganja trade, Ivan rises quickly to the top of the pop charts…and the most-wanted lists.

Haramuya

Director: Drissa Touré
Country: Burkina Faso and France
Year: 1996
Running Time: 90 min
Language: French

Haramuya plays out amid the shantytowns and affluent architecture of Ouagadougou, where wealth and poverty thrive side by side. In his second feature, Touré paints a rich portrait of his native country’s capital city, skillfully outlining the tensions between traditional and modern ways, especially as they affect several generations of a Muslim family.

Through Fousseini, a Muslim firmly attached to his faith and traditions, and his family, Haramuya draws a picture of Ouagadougou in the traps of modernism and traditionalism. Fousseini tries to take care of his family according to the old precepts and the code of honor inherited from his ancestors. One of his sons is a cinema projectionist and supports all the family against the will of his wife. The other son idles around all day long in Ouagadougou, looking for a girlfriend.

Guimba

Director: Cheick Oumar Sissoko
Country: Mali
Year: 1993
Running Time: 120 min
Language: Bambara

This film tells the story of a small West African village ruled by a tyrant and his son. The movie starts and ends as a folk story told by a narrator.

For Guimba, the prince of a once prosperous trading city, the key to power is spectacle: humiliating court rituals, arbitrary displays of wrath, occult powers, even the terrifying mask which always covers his face. Guimba’s authority begins to crumble when he demands that a nobleman divorce his wife so that his own son, the physical and moral dwarf, Janginé, can marry her. This ludicrous demand reveals him to the townspeople as a unrestrained beast not a prince; they jeer and defy him and abandon the city to join a rebel force.

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Growing Stronger

Director: Tsitsi Dangarembga
Country: Zimbabwe
Year: 2005
Running Time: 30 min
Language: English and Shona

After living a high profile life as a model and wife to the then coach of the Zimbabwe national football team, Tendayi Westerhof stunned the nation by becoming the first high profile person to go public about her HIV positive status in 2002. This beautiful woman has gone on to become a public figure in a very different way, as an elegant and glamorous AIDS activist in the world of modeling and the public media. Pamela Kanjenzana lives a very different life with her HIV infection in one of Zimbabwe’s high density suburbs. Nevertheless, she also manages to survive by living positively. Two remarkable examples of how living with the virus has changed their lives.

The Great Debaters

Director: Denzel Washington
Country: USA
Year: 2007
Running Time: 126 min
Language: English

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Marshall, Texas, described by James Farmer, Jr. as “the last city to surrender after the Civil War,” is home to Wiley College, where, in 1935-36, inspired by the Harlem Renaissance and his clandestine work as a union organizer, Professor Melvin Tolson coaches the debate team to a nearly undefeated season that sees the first debate between U.S. students from white and Negro colleges and ends with an invitation to face Harvard University’s national champions. The team of four, which includes a female student and a very young James Farmer, is tested in a crucible heated by Jim Crow, sexism, a lynch mob, an arrest and near riot, a love affair, jealousy, and a national radio audience.

The Grass Is Singing

Director: Michael Raeburn
Country: Zimbabwe
Year: 1995
Running Time: 102 min
Language: English

Scared of becoming an “old maid,” Mary, a white secretary, marries a local struggling farmer. But life on the farm is harsh and the only place she can find comfort is in a socially unacceptable relationship with Moses, her black servant.

Goodbye Mothers

Director: Mohamed Ismail
Country: Morocco
Year: 2007
Running Time: 110 min
Language: Arabic and French

Mohamed Ismail’s Goodbye Mothers dares to depict the peaceful co-existence in 1960s Casablanca of two families, one Muslim and one Jewish. The film touches on the historical period known as the “Black Years of Emigration,” when Moroccan Jews faced a pervading sense of hesitation between two conflicting desires, remaining in Morocco or uprooting themselves to emigrate to Israel.

Gombélé

Director: Issa Traoré de Brahima
Country: Burkina Faso and France
Year: 1994
Running Time: 25 min
Language: Dioula

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An African fairy tale about a young boy who is very different: an albino, Khalifa has been abandoned by his parents, but is much loved by a little girl named Mina, his adoptive mother Soussou, and the old cow who is his nanny. When rustlers steal his cow, Khalifa disappears in pursuit, and in his absence, an old legend takes hold of the community’s collective imagination. The albino boy has been transformed into a spirit bent on punishing the kids in the district. If Khalifa reappears, will the flesh-and-blood child be able to exorcise the specter of a bad-tempered ghost?

The Golden Ball / Le Ballon D’or

Director: Cheik Doukoure
Country: Guinea and France
Year: 1992
Running Time: 90 min
Language: Malinké and French

The Golden Ball is an engaging tale that follows Bandian, a boy of twelve years, who runs very fast and is a boy-wonder on the soccer field. His friends call him the turbo Makono, named after the village where he lives, and predict that he will eventually become a international soccer player.

Goi-Goi: The Dwarf

Director: Mahamat Saleh Haroun
Country: Chad
Year: 1995
Running Time: 15 min
Language: Chadian Arabic

Goi-Goi is a man who loves to drink and play cards. While his attentions are occupied, his wife cheats on him and the entire village knows about it. He catches his wife and her lover in the act. Goi-Goi makes plans to regain his honor, but things don’t go quite as he planned.

God Is African

Director: Akin Omotoso
Country: South Africa
Year: 2002
Running Time: 90 min.
Language: English

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God is African represents a new spirit in South African film, one aimed at breaking down cultural barriers, exposing xenophobia, and portraying a new consciousness of what it is to be African. The film is set at a university campus where youthful optimism seems to permeate the students’ outlook on life. Reality intrudes with the death sentence of Ken Saro Wiwa, Nigerian writer and environmentalist. Femi, a Nigeria student tries to politicize the student body, but he needs to convince Ade, a popular campus deejay, to help spread the word. The cast is awash with top actors, many of who hail from television hits Isidingo and Soul City.  The cast includes Sami Sabiti (Ade), a popular M-Net deejay, and cameos by well-known South African DJs such as the irrepressible Phat Joe, David Kau (YFM) and T Bose (MetroFM).

Gito, The Ungrateful / Gito, l’ingrat

Director: Léonce Ngabo
Country: Burundi
Year: 1992
Running Time: 90 min.
Language: French

One of the most popular African films in recent years, Gito begins with a Burundi student in France about to head home after completing his university degree. Before leaving, Gito promises his Parisian girlfriend, Christine, that he will send for her as soon as he is appointed a cabinet minister. Back home, he soon finds that no cabinet post or any job awaits him. Instead, he finds his childhood sweetheart, Flora, who has her own plans for his future. When Christine arrives unannounced, the fireworks begin. The two women meet and join forces, humorously punishing Gito.

The Gift (Umkhungo)

Director: Matthew Jankes
Country: South Africa
Year: 2011
Running Time: 26 min
Language: English and Zulu

A disillusioned Johannesburg street thug rescues an orphaned child with uncontrollable supernatural powers. On the run, he must help the sickly boy master his gift before a superstitious family member finds them.

Ghana Celebrates

Director: Archival Newsreel
Country: Ghana
Year: 1957
Running Time: 1 min
Language: English

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Long Live Ghana! Fishermen, beauty queens and the Duchess of Kent join Kwame Nkrumah in celebrating the first black African nation’s independence.

Get That Number

Director: Stephen Leeds
Country: USA
Year: 1995
Running Time: 22 min.
Language: English

In a big city full of beautiful women, James has no problem getting phone numbers of attractive women, but for poor Scotty just getting one number is an adventure.

The Genesis / Owo-Blow

Director: Tade Ogidan
Country: Nigeria
Year: 1997
Running Time: 80 min.
Language: Yoruba

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Mr. Owolabi is a father of four whose quest to create a just society unwittingly earns him a ten-year jail term. His incarceration wreaks havoc on his family, who are forced to do whatever it takes to survive.

Free Wheels / En Roue Libre

Director: Sidiki S. Bakaba
Country: Ivory Coast
Year: 2004
Running Time: 90 min
Language: French

At 6:00pm in Katakataville, an African capital city, Fofana is a taxi driver caught in a traffic jam. Patheco and Guele, two cripples, take advantage of the situation to extract coins from the taxi driver and hold him up. Taking Fofana and his passenger hostage, Patcheco and Guele announce themselves criminal masterminds. Thus begins a hard night of violence, confusion and drama.