African Cinema

  • Leão Lopes – Ilhéu da Contenda AKA Isle of Contempt (1996)

    1991-2000African CinemaCape VerdeDramaLeão Lopes

    Cape Verde, 1964. At the feet of a mighty volcano, the traditional Cape Verdean society is undergoing a steady change. The old land-owning aristocracy is disintegrating. A class of “mulattos” begins to emerge, with a trade-based financial power that threatens the landlords. A new identity arises, a mix of old and new, of African and Portuguese culture, sensual and dynamic. The songs of Cesária Évora follow this inevitable transformation. From the novel by Henrique Teixeira de Sousa.Read More »

  • Moumen Smihi – El chergui AKA The East Wind (1975)

    1971-1980African CinemaArthouseDramaMoroccoMoumen Smihi

    Set in the mid-1950s when Tangier was still an international zone, El Chergui presents the city on the eve of its independence, as Aïcha resorts to magical practices to try to prevent her husband from taking a second wife. Around her, a society of women creates its own form of active resistance even as the larger independence movement grows around it. Through his unique use of montage, Smihi creates arresting images that present a society torn by the contradictions of colonialism, religion, patriarchy, and resistance.Read More »

  • Christopher Kirkley – Zerzura (2017)

    2011-2020African CinemaChristopher KirkleyNigerWestern

    Zerzura is a feature-length ethnofiction shot in the Sahara desert. Mixing folktales and documentary, the film follows a young man from Niger who leaves home in search of an enchanted oasis.Read More »

  • Ousmane Sembene – La noire de… AKA Black Girl (1966)

    1961-1970African CinemaArthouseDramaOusmane SembeneSenegal

    Ousmane Sembène was one of the greatest and most groundbreaking filmmakers who ever lived, as well as the most renowned African director of the twentieth century—and yet his name still deserves to be better known in the rest of the world. He made his feature debut in 1966 with the brilliant and stirring Black Girl. Sembène, who was also an acclaimed novelist in his native Senegal, transforms a deceptively simple plot—about a young Senegalese woman who moves to France to work for a wealthy white family and finds that life in their small apartment becomes a prison, both figuratively and literally—into a complexly layered critique of the lingering colonialist mind-set of a supposedly postcolonial world. Featuring a moving central performance by M’Bissine Thérèse Diop, Black Girl is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.Read More »

  • Souheil Ben-Barka – Amok (1983)

    1981-1990African CinemaDramaMoroccoPoliticsSouheil Ben-Barka

    An investigative reporter becomes entangled in deadly intrigue when she is assigned to get the story of the presidential candidate, and her job is complicated by a string of political assassinations and attempts.Read More »

  • Désiré Ecaré – Concerto pour un exil (1968)

    1961-1970African CinemaCote d'IvoiereDésiré EcaréDrama

    A group of African students in Paris are reaching the end of their studies. Should they return to their newly independent homelands or should they try to forge a home for themselves in a hostile and indifferent France ? In a very moving and atmospheric film, clearly influenced by the French New Wave, Ecaré beautifully captures the radicalism, sensuousness and ennui of the late 1960s Latin Quarter , as well as his characters’ sense of displacement and isolation.Read More »

  • Djibril Diop Mambéty – Badou Boy (1970)

    1961-1970African CinemaComedyDjibril Diop MambétyExperimentalSenegal

    Publisher’s description:
    The 1970 colour full-lengh film Badou Boy, a south-Sahara “cops and robbers” movie, “it’s a part of my youthful years, many Africans empathizes with the amoral waif, the movie character that is so similar to me”, declared the director. Shot in 16mm, it won the gold medal at the MIFED of Milan and the golden Tanit at 1970 Cathage Festival.Read More »

  • Djibril Diop Mambéty – Contras’ City (1968)

    1961-1970African CinemaDjibril Diop MambétyDocumentarySenegalShort Film

    Publisher’s description:
    The satirical documentary Contras’ City (which stands for Contrast City) was shot on 16mm in 1968. It is one of the earliest African comic movie and an urban planning analysis of the “two Dakars”. It is considered the first African comedy. It is a satire on Dakar – a city in which styles and cultures are blended in a cosmopolitan small area. Mambety manipulates the classic documentary apparatus with the object of exploring social conflicts of the capital city.Read More »

  • S. Pierre Yameogo – Moi et mon blanc AKA Me and My White Man (2003)

    2001-2010African CinemaBurkina FasoComedyS. Pierre Yameogo

    Plot: Mamadi is struggling to complete a doctorate at a Parisian university after the government of his country has stopped paying his scholarship. Thanks to his acquaintances in the African community, he finds a job as night watchman in an underground car park. There, a French colleague, Franck, helps the friendly African academic getting around. However, the car park is also a meeting point for dubious characters, and when Mamadi accidentally wrecks a drug trafficking operation, Franck is really hard-pressed to put his pal and himself out of harm’s way. Wouldn’t Mamadi’s home country be the ideal place to escape the gangsters’ wrath?Read More »

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