The 12th New York African Film Festival
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The Film Society of Lincoln Center ’s Walter Reade Theater and the African Film Festival Present
The 12th New York African Film Festival
April 20 - 28
Annual Program Celebrates the Best of African Cinema with 24 Films from 12 Countries
The twelfth edition of the New York African Film Festival, to take place April 20 - 28 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, continues its strong tradition of bringing the best of African cinema to American audiences. This year’s program showcases 24 films from 12 countries, including a number of nations whose national cinemas are mostly unknown here, including Niger, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Angola, and Mozambique. The festival features the work of eminent filmmakers Ousmane Sembene and Cameroon director Jean-Marie Teno as well as the work of new talent, notably the strange and gripping directorial debut of Zimbabwe's Tsitsi Dangarembga, Kare Kare Zvako (Mother's Day).
key theme of this year’s festival is a look behind the camera —
films about the poetry and politics of filmmaking on the African continent.
Rahmatou Keita's Al’leessi…An African Actress depicts
the promise of cinema in
new York African Film Festival
also includes a group of films that examine race in
usual, African directors and guest speakers will be present during the
festival (indicated in the schedule by an asterisk (*) after showtimes).
A roundtable discussion with filmmakers, writers, and artists will take
place at Columbia
School of the Arts on April 23. The AFF continues at BAM, May 26-29. For
more information please visit www.africanfilmny.org
The 12th New York African Film Festival was organized by Richard Peņa and The African Film Festival, Inc. (Mahen Bonetti, Aba Taylor, Alonzo Speight, Wilson Sherwin, and Muriel Placet-Kouassi). Thanks to Kaine Agary, Tracy Binta Austin, Joan Baffour, Patricia Blanchet, Luca Bonetti, Rumbi Bwerinofa, Kevin Duggan, Tunde Giwa, Belynda Hardin, J. Michelle Hill, Sean Jacobs, Ekwa Msangi, Maguette Ndiaye, Prerana Reddy, Kojo Associates, and TRACE magazine.
African Film Festival, Inc., programs are made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, JPMorgan Chase, the New York State Council on the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, American Express, UNDP, Prudential Financial, UNESCO, French Cultural Services, Bloomberg, 57 Main Street Wine Company, Estudio Inc., The New York Times, Time Warner Cable, and WNYC.
COMPLETE FILM DESCRIPTIONS AND SCREENING SCHEDULE
first cultural act of the nascent
African Middleweights / Africains poids moyens
Daniel Cattier, Zimbabwe/Belgium, 2004; 18m. Lingala & French with English subtitles.
1960 and the Belgian Congo is on the eve of Independence . A young Congolese boxer, Samwa, and his older brother, Nourou, arrive in Brussels for the final of the Afro-European Middleweight Championship against the Belgian title-holder. To avoid a Congolese victory, the Belgian organizers order Samwa to take a dive during the final. Nourou sees it as an opportunity for Belgian passports and a chance to escape their miserable lives for good, but Samwa has other ideas....
Wed April 20: 2; Fri April 22: 6:15
Me and My White Pal / Moi et mon blanc
Pierre Yameogo, Burkina Faso/France, 2003; 90m. French & Moore with English subtitles.
Wed April 20: 3:30 ; Sat April 23: 4*
4; 115m. English and Afrikaans with English subtitles.
Forgiveness is the story of Tertius Coetzee, an ex-apartheid policeman who resigned after giving evidence at the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings. Although he has recently been granted amnesty for his crimes he remains tormented — the family of one of the victims he “eliminated” did not come forward during the hearings. His search for the Grootboom family leads him back to the windswept fishing town of Paternoster and, with the help of the local priest, Tertius is able to set up a meeting with the family. Each character’s emotions will be tested and challenged throughout this quick-paced and visceral film as three former comrades of Coetzee’s victim hatch a revenge scheme.
Wed April 20: 6:30 *; Sat April 23: 9:15 *
A South African Love Story — Walter and Albertina Sisulu
touching story of Walter and Albertina Sisulu is not just a testament
to the political endurance of one of
Zama , just released from prison, is drawn back into the criminal world by his oldest friend, Respect. Luckily, the magic of Japanese culinary art in a sushi restaurant fascinates him. From dishwasher to chef’s disciple, Zama gradually wins the trust of the most demanding clients. In turn, he must tackle the problems of choosing a distinctive vocation and forging a new destiny for himself.
Wed April 20: 9:15 ; Sun April 24: 1
An unusual look at urban life in West Africa , Laafi tells a story of Joe, a bright young man who wants to study medicine despite the bureaucrats in Ouagadougou who are unimpressed by his exceptional high school grades and sincerity. Refusing to give up, Joe learns that persistence is the only weapon against red tape. In an almost verite style, Yameogo sets Joe’s odyssey against the leisure of life in his rural hometown. A refreshing look at a side of African life rarely found on the screen, Laafi was awarded top prize at the 1991 Festival of Pan-African Cinema at Ouagadougou .
Thurs April 21: 1:30
Al’leessi…An African Actress
is a treasure of archival images and information about the birth of cinema
Waiting for Valdez
Despite hardships, it is the love of his grandmother that helps Sharky through a life devoid of parental guidance and the tumultuous political period of the 70s, when apartheid forcibly removed blacks and coloreds to different parts of Johannesburg .
Thurs April 21: 3:45 *; Sat April 23: 1:45 *
One of the biggest hits ofthe 2004 New York Film Festival, Moolaade is a rousing film directed against the still-common African practice of female circumcision. Set in a small village, four girls facing ritual "purification" flee to the household of Colle Ardo Gallo Sy, a strong-willed woman who has managed to shield her own teenage daughter from mutilation. Colle invokes the time-honored practice of moolaade (sanctuary) to protect the young fugitives. Tension mounts as the ensuing stand-off pits Colle against village traditionalists (both males & females), endangering the prospective marriage of her daughter to the heir-apparent to the tribal throne.
The Making of Moolaade
somebody says in this short documentary "Making a film in Africa
is an adventure." Moolaade’s
shoot took place in a remote village in
Thurs April 21: 6*; Sat April 23: 6:15 *
this modern dramatic comedy, a Lebanese family who took refuge in
has become prosperous. However, the shady deals required to stay afloat
finally take their toll. While the mother simply wants her sons to make
money until they can return to
Thurs April 21: 9*; Tues April 26: 4:15 ; Thurs April 28: 1
years ago, in a small town in
Fri April 22: 4*; Mon April 25: 9:15
The Colonial Misunderstanding / Malentendu Colonial
Colonial Misunderstanding is
a bold exploration of
Fri April 22: 8*; Sun April 24: 8:15 *; Thurs April 28: 2:45
The Hero / O Heroi
Vitorio, a 35-year-old soldier and veteran of the Angolan civil war, is discharged from the Army after stepping on a landmine and losing his leg. Returning to the capital city of Luanda , he finds himself homeless and penniless in a city still littered with memories of the war. One night he is robbed of his prosthetic leg and his war medal. While waiting for a replacement at the hospital he meets Joanne, a flirtatious schoolteacher who has connections with the government. Vitorio begins to believe that his dreams may have come true. Gamboa's film is a subtle exploration of the tormented social and economic political situation of a country ravaged by 27 years of war.
Fri April 22: 10 ; Mon April 25: 1
Keepers of Memory / Gardiens de la Memoire
gripping documentary, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the genocide
Mother’s Day / Kare Kare Zvako
Tsitsi Dangrembga, Zimbabwe, 2004; 30m.Shona with English subtitles.
Mother’s Day is like nothing you've ever seen. Drought has struck. Father pushes his wife away from the family dinner of termites. In anger, when Mother challenges him, he digs a pit with a brutal purpose, but little does he suspect that Mother can retaliate just as powerfully.
Sun April 24: *3; Wed April 27: 1
The Wound / La Blessure
Co-presented with the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
Nicolas Klotz, Congo/France, 2004; 160m. French with English subtitles.
Blandine arrives at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, seeking to join her husband Papi in Paris. Despite articulate claims for asylum, she is held in a cramped cell along with a number of fellow Africans, humiliated, mistreated, and told to expect immediate deportation. When Blandine is hurt in a skirmish on the runway as the authorities try and force her out of the country, a sympathetic employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs saves her from expulsion. She is finally reunited with Papi in a communal squat, where its inhabitants share harrowing stories. Nicolas Klotz's poetic, poignant and compassionate film is a determinedly political and beautifully composed work and a convincing portrait of the injustices black immigrants face as they seek to find homes in the West.
Sun April 24: 5*; Tue April 26: 1*
Usa Galadima, Nigeria, 1998; 110m. Hausa with English subtitles
Alhaki (Nemesis) is the story of Rabi, a humble and dedicated housewife married to Alhaji Audu — a man who has little time for women who can bear only female children. In search of male offspring, Alhaji proceeds to marry a second wife, Delu, a former prostitute. Soon after the second marriage, Delu dominates her new household, forcing first wife Rabi to divorce Alhaji, who disowns her children. Rabi leaves home and becomes a successful businesswoman. When it is discovered that second wife Delu is barren, Alhaji seeks a third wife, Zulai. Zulai becomes pregnant and Delu is hell-bent on terminating Zulai’s life and that of the unborn baby through charms sought from Malams (priests). Meanwhile the fortunes and health of Alhaji begin to dwindle, Delu continues acting out old habits, and it is the exiled Rabi who must save the day.
Sun April 24: 10; Wed April 27: 2:45
Born Into Struggle
Rehad Desai, South Africa, 2004; 74m
Rehad Desai takes us on an intimate journey mapped out by the scars etched into his family’s life from having a father who was deeply involved in politics. Barney Desai was a political hero during South Africa’s struggle for freedom, yet as a father he was emotionally absent. Despite the damage his father’s absence caused, Rehad, who spent most of his young life in exile, became politically active himself. On this intensely personal journey into his past, Rehad reviews his relationship with his own estranged teenage son, realizing he has followed in his father’s footsteps.
John W. Fredericks, South Africa, 2004; 19m. English and Afrikaans with English subtitles.
This fast-paced account of the life and death of the charismatic young rapper Devious portrays the brutal reality of South African township life. In Devious’s world young boys carry guns, drugs are easily accessible, and politicians fail to act in the community’s interest. But despite the hardships and challenges facing him, Devious remains deeply dedicated to using hip-hop as a weapon to address the issues that affect his community most. Enhanced by haunting images of township life and a forceful soundtrack, this film is an eloquent portrait of a beautiful life cut short.
Mon April 25: 3; Wed April 27: 5
Story of a Beautiful Country
Khalo Matabane, South Africa/Canada, 2004; 73m
Story of a Beautiful Country is the journey of Khalo Matabane, a young black filmmaker in search of his promised land — the new South Africa. Traveling with a hand-held camera through nine provinces of his country, Matabane films entirely from the seat of a mini-bus taxi, capturing the physical beauty of a still troubled land. The taxi also serves as an open forum for ordinary people to talk about their feelings and impressions of the new South Africa, which emerged from apartheid in 1994. Following the format of talk radio, topics range over controversial issues such as land, race, language, globalization, violence, democracy, and identity.
Mon April 25: 5*; Wed April 27: 7*
Keita, The Heritage of the Griot
Dani Kouyate, Burkina Faso, 1995; 94m. Jula and French with English subtitles.
The griot's arrival creates tension in the Keita household, especially between Mabo, his mother, and his schoolteacher, who represents a Westernized lifestyle devoid of African tradition. Mabo becomes so caught up in the griot's story that he stops studying for exams, daydreams in class, and eventually skips school to tell the story to other boys. Director Dani Kouyate frames his dramatization of the epic within the story of Mabo Keīta, a contemporary boy from Burkina Faso, learning the history of his family. During the film, Mabo and his distant ancestor, Sundjata, engage in parallel quests to understand their destinies, to "know the meaning of their names."
Mon April 25: 7*
Elaine de Latour, Ivory Coast/France, 2000; 110m. French & Nushi with English subtitles.
Bronx Barbes follows drifting young people who dream of independence through drugs and guns, whose myths and rebellion could be those of young people in any big modern city like New York, Singapore, Rio, or Paris. After committing an accidental murder in an African shantytown, young Tyson and Toussaint take refuge in the Bronx ghetto by joining one of its gangs. The film follows the boys as they struggle to maintain their friendship in the face of obstacles posed by Tyson’s love affair and run-ins with bloodthirsty gang members, while hoping to find a way to become somebody. The wonderful music of Tiken Jah Fakoly and Alpha Blondy contribute to the power of this poignant film.
Wed April 27: 9; Thurs April 28: 4:30
All screenings are $10; $7 for students; $6 for members of the Film Society and co-sponsoring organizations, and $5 for seniors for weekday matinees. The Walter Reade Theater is located at 165 W. 65th St., plaza level. Tickets are available at www.filmlinc.com or at the box office. There is a $1.25 surcharge per ticket for tickets bought online. For general information, call (212) 875-5600.
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