African Cinema

Roger Gnoan M’Bala – Bouka (1988)

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Bouka is a gifted young teenager. He lives with his parents in a village and forms with them a solid family. His father gives him a traditional education close to the nature. Unfortunately this happiness will be troubled by the brutal death of the father…
Remained widow Bouka’s mother will suffer the consequences of a relentless traditional principle. She becomes the new wife of the nephew of her late husband, Bouka doesn’t accepts this new condition of her mother. He suspects his stepfather to be involved in his father’s death. He stops to go to school and organizes a gang in the forest.
In this tormented atmosphere, he develops a mortal hate towards its new “father”… Read More »

Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda – Juju Factory (2007)

Kongo is writing a book on the subject of immigrants but while his editor wants a kind of traveler’s book in which ethnic exotic ingredients are offered to a European audience, Kongo has more ambitious ideas – he conceives of the idea of writing a book that follows the paths of Congolese history and its many ghosts. A brave and powerful film, made with single-mind integrity. Filmed mainly in the Congo, the film also provides a slice of life of the contemporary Congolese community in Brussels. Read More »

Ababacar Samb-Makharam – Jom (1982)

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The merger between cinematic language and traditional African narrative forms is taken even further in Jom, the Story of a People (Senegal 1982) by Ababacar Samb Makharam. The film presents an epic overview of the history of Senegal within the structure of a tale told by a griot. Griots are the itinerant poets and musicians of Senegal who has the responsibility of recounting and maintaining the history of a tribe or people and, because of their duty in preserving the memories of their people, the griots hold an especially important place within the West African cultural community. The role of the griot was, perhaps, best stated by Sembene: “His work reflects and synthesizes the problems, the struggles, and the hopes of his people,” In Jom, the Story of a People, Makharam’s creates the film equivalent of a griot’s tale with all of its musical and moral strengths intact. Read More »

Maria João Ganga – Na Cidade Vazia AKA Hollow City (2004)

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N’Dala, one of the orphans from the 30-years war that devastated his country, is brought over to the capital of Angola by missionaries. He rather chooses to run away from the nun who cares for him, to throw himself into the delusion-stricken streets, which will take their toll on the boy’s childhood.
His tragic past is crisscrossed with people. An older boy, Zé, sees the famous Pepetela’s character, the warrior-boy N’Gunga, in N’Dala. Zé tries to help him surviving in the city, but brings N’Dala into an unavoidable fate. By the sea, far from the general city’s ruin, lives an old fisherman who brings the boy many stories from the ocean. But continuously, N’Dala prefers to run… Survivors and outcasts amid the debris, Joka and Rosita will embrace N’Dala in their own world. Read More »