African Cinema

  • Yasmine Kassari – L’enfant endormi (2004)

    2001-2010African CinemaArthouseDramaMoroccoYasmine Kassari
    L'enfant endormi (2004)
    L’enfant endormi (2004)

    In the northeast of contemporary Morocco, Zeinab, a young wife watches her husband leave the country to go underground the day after their wedding. Zeinab is expecting a child. While she is waiting for her husband to return she lulls the foetus to sleep. Time goes by and the husband does not come back.
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  • Daniel Kamwa – Boubou cravate (1972)

    1971-1980African CinemaCameroonDaniel KamwaDramaShort Film
    Boubou cravate (1972)
    Boubou cravate (1972)

    A young diplomat is prey to the sarcasm of his own “boy”, who sees in him one of the many black-skinned Europeans totally lacking in authenticity and adrift between two cultures. But this adaptation of a novella by Francis Bebey is not limited to this simple contrast. The black man may well fall for the deceptive seductiveness of the blonde woman, but this same white beauty just as easily allows herself to be seduced by the mystery of black Africa. After all, the stereotype differences between Blacks and Whites can never tell the whole story. This culture clash is also the story of a master and his servant, of a director and his secretary, of the same director and the director-general, of a husband and his wife. It cannot be by chance that in the end, after a ritual invasion of his own living room, the diplomat rediscovers his identity by means of the mask, which as we know always conceals and reveals at the same time.Read More »

  • Jean-Michel Tchissoukou – La chapelle (1980)

    1971-1980African CinemaComedyCongo (Brazzaville)DramaJean-Michel Tchissoukou
    Affiche du film la Chapelle de Jean MichelTchissoukou 1980
    Affiche du film la Chapelle de Jean MichelTchissoukou 1980

    It’s the 1930s. In a village located several kilometers from the administrative post, men attached to ancestral traditions have no other ambition than to live in peace. The evangelical mission has set up a school and asked the population to build a chapel. Work drags on, exasperating the parish priest, who enlists the help of the sacristan and the village chief to speed up the construction of the chapel. The arrival of a young teacher, full of modernist ideas, and the hostile attitude of the schoolmaster, enabled the parish priest to reinforce his authority.Read More »

  • Idrissa Ouedraogo – Samba Traoré (1992)

    Idrissa Ouedraogo1991-2000African CinemaBurkina FasoDramaThriller
    Samba Traoré (1992)
    Samba Traoré (1992)

    Samba Traoré had left his village years ago to seek his fortune in the big city. He has found only unemployment and rootlessness. As the film begins, he is part of a filling station holdup in which his partner is killed but Samba Traoré, determined, takes the money at gunpoint.

    He returns to his village, hides the money, and lets out that he has been successful and now wants to live at home. He resumes old friendships. He marries. His impulses run away with him as opportunities arise to spend more and more of the money. At first people just think he did well in the city. Then they think he did amazingly well. Then they think that they never dreamed anyone could make so much money. Finally his trail becomes so obvious that the police hear of him.Read More »

  • Idrissa Ouedraogo – Tilaï AKA The Law (1990)

    1981-1990African CinemaBurkina FasoDramaIdrissa OuedraogoRomance

    Tilaï opens to a long sequence, off-axis shot of a lone traveler moving away from view as he slowly traverses the arid, featureless plain on a lumbering, overburdened mule and disappears into the desolate horizon. It is an appropriately distanced and alienated introduction for the weary, but sanguine Saga (Rasmane Ouedraogo) who, after an extended journey away from his native village, has returned to the foreboding sight of anxious villagers assembled at a clearing near the entrance of the intimate community. Greeted by his brother Kougri (Assane Ouedraogo) who heads off Saga at the footpath to the village on behalf of the family, Kougri informs him of an unforeseen (and reprehensible) development during his absence: the marriage of his beloved Nogma (Ina Cissé) to their father Nomenaba (Seydou Ouedraogo), having changed his mind and taken the reluctant young woman – once promised to Saga by the old man himself – as his second wife.Read More »

  • Souheil Ben-Barka – Les mille et une mains aka A Thousand and One Hands (1973)

    1971-1980African CinemaDramaMoroccoSouheil Ben-Barka

    Two families of Moroccan rug-makers are contrasted in this award-winning French-language film. The poor family makes its living by dyeing the wool used in the rugs made in the richer family’s factory. When the boss of the factory refuses to see the son of the poor family following an accident which has injured his father, the poor son breaks into the boss’s house. He is met by unsupportable abuse from the rich wife, who flogs him for dirtying her carpets.Read More »

  • Nacer Khemir – Sheherazade: Words Against Death (2011)

    Nacer Khemir2011-2020African CinemaArthouseFantasyTunisia

    The collected work known as “One Thousand and One Nights” survived for centuries through generations of Arab storytellers, and is now recognized as an integral part of world literature. In this filmed performance, storyteller/filmmaker Nacer Khemir sits on chair in the middle of a dimly lit stage and deploys the magic of words to take us on a journey of the imagination. This simple set-up may not seem like much, but it offers the listener an extraordinarily colorful experience and brilliantly emphasizes the oral nature of the work. As we listen to the expertly told stories, we are equally charmed by their intricacies and entranced by their interconnectedness. Even though Khemir illustrates some of the stories with beautifully filmed sequences, the audience’s ability to listen is paramount here. Sheherazade used words to avoid impending death, Khemir uses the art of storytelling to breathe a new life into this ancient masterwork.Read More »

  • Rahmatou Keïta – Zin’naariya! aka The Wedding Ring (2016)

    Drama2011-2020African CinemaNigerRahmatou KeïtaRomance

    Tiyaa, a beautiful young woman from an aristocratic family, returns after a study in Paris to her place of birth, the Sultanate of Zinder in Niger. Her girlfriends and aunts soon notice that a shadow of sorrow hangs over her. She had to leave her lover behind in Paris and she is at a loose end back home. During a consultation with a zimma, a wise old man, she is advised to wait for the new moon to perform a love ritual.Until that time, she roams the community having conversations with women of all ages, who offer her an insight into their love life and sensuality, taboos and culturally-defined codes, with a dash of mysticism. The Wedding Ring is also a lyrical love letter to the traditional customs of the Sahel, with an eye for the beautiful clothing and an elegant production design.Read More »

  • Nour Eddine Lakhmari – Casanegra (2008)

    2001-2010ActionAfrican CinemaArthouseMoroccoNour Eddine Lakhmari

    Two childhood friends, Adil and Karim, try to make a living as small-time crooks on the streets of modern day Casablanca. But when both men decide to make a better life for themselves, they are hired by a local mobster to perform one last job to earn their ticket out of Casablanca, and their friendship faces the ultimate test. Casanegra is an ode to the hopes of a city and a generation.

    Awards: 10 wins and Morocco’s official submission to 82nd Academy Award’s Foreign Language in 2010.Read More »

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