CANADA & NIGERIA/ 2019/ ROMANTIC COMEDY/ ENGLISH/ 115 MIN
2 Weeks in Lagos is a turbulent and thrilling journey into the lives of Ejikeme and Lola. Their lives collide when Ejikeme an investment banker comes home from the United States with Lola’s brother Charlie to invest in Nigerian businesses. 2 Weeks in Lagos captures the excitement, vibrancy, and complexity of everyday life in Lagos, a dynamic city where anything is possible in 2 Weeks.
“Nigerian filmmaker Kathryn Fasegha’s sophomore feature is one of those great surprises that remind us why we love movies. Through the simple premise of two families coming to terms to decide their future and legacy, focusing on the romantic bridge between the youngsters, the director conceives a heart-warming, enchanted, funny and perceptive look at family values, faith, integrity, pure love and capital interests.” ~ Brazilian Press
“2 Weeks in Lagos paints a dynamic and vigorous canvas of the city and its vibrancy. Efficiently performed by a stellar cast, well written with accurate humor and unexpected twists, it’s an accomplished, sensitive and timely romantic comedy.” ~ Brazilian Press
DIRECTED BY MEHDI BARSAOUI TUNISIA/ 2019/ DRAMA/ ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES/ 96 MIN
An intense family drama starring French-Tunisian actor Sami Bouajila, winner of the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor, Venice Film Festival 2019. 11 year old Aziz needs a liver transplant after being seriously injured during a terrorist ambush while on holiday in 2011. At the hospital, a family secret will be revealed.
A drama that expertly captures complex human emotions within their socio-cultural, historical and political context. ~ Hollywood Reporter
Not many debuting directors are able to bring subtlety and depth to a heart-rending subject, which is just one reason why Mehdi M. Barsaoui's superb "A Son" deserves significant attention. ~ Variety
It's a film reminiscent of the work of Iranian master Asghar Farhadi [A Separation, The Salesman], full of twists and turns as it puts its characters in increasingly tragic situations. ~ Cineuropa
César Awards, France (2021) Best Actor: Sami Bouajila
Victoria Film Festival, Canada (2020) Best Feature: Mehdi Barsaoui
Malmö Arab Film Festival (2020) Best Actress: Najla Ben Abdallah
Kosmorama, Trondheim Internasjonale Film Festival (2020) New Director's Award: Mehdi Barsaoui
Venice Film Festival (2019) Best Actor: Sami Bouajila
Cairo International Film Festival(2019) Arab Cinema's Horizons Award: Mehdi Barsaoui Salah Abu Seif Prize: Mehdi Barsaoui UNFPA Award: Mehdi Barsaoui
Hainan International Film Festival (2019) Young Talent Award Winner: Best Feature Film
Set in an unnamed African country, A Taste of Our Land is a film about greed told against the backdrop of the current Chinese influence in African countries. While trying to provide for his pregnant wife, Yohani, an older African man, retrieves a gold nugget in a Chinese-run mine built on his land and runs away to sell it for $100. When he learns its real value, he becomes as obsessed with it as Cheng, the Chinese mine supervisor who will stop at nothing to get it back.
Winner, Best First Feature Film, 2020 Africa Movie Academy Awards; Winner, Best First Feature Narrative, 2020 Pan African Film Festival.
Directed by Yuhi Amuli, Rwanda, 2020, 84min, drama, English.
Aces is the story of a young man who fights against the battering of his mother by his drunken father. The situation escalates until Ace desperately stabs his father to death, and is sent to jail for a period of 15 years. Nine years later he is out on parole. He kills again within a day's time of his release.
Two fiction films that explore the life of women in Africa. Set in Burkina Fasso AN UNCOMMON WOMAN is a comedy about a cuckold woman who decides to take a second husband. CAPE VERDE MY LOVE is drama that takes a critical look at the lives of women in contemporary Cape Verde.
AN UNCOMMON WOMAN
Mina is tired of her husband's infidelity and decides to take a drastic decision: She takes a second husband. Based on his conversations with women involved in polygamist relationships, he illustrates - to very funny effects - the daily life of two persons - in this case two men - who share a spouse. On a comedic tone, Abdoulaye Dao tells us a story of jealousy, infidelity, romance and revenge.Directed by Dao Abdoulaye, 2009, 101 min, Burkina Faso, Comedy, French with English subtitles.
An Uncommon Woman-Une Femme Pas Comme Les Autres- was a success in its native Burkina Faso and is cast with some the best actors of Burkinabe cinema.
Official selection, African Diaspora International Film Festival 2010.
CAPE VERDE MY LOVE
Praia, Cape Verde. Laura, Flavia and Bela are childhood friends. Each leads her own life and they sometimes meet to dance, dine and have fun. But one day the calm rivers of their lives break their banks and become wild torrents: Ricardo, Flavia's husband, rapes his pupil Indira, Laura's 13-year old eldest daughter. A film that takes a critical look at the lives of women in Cape Verde .
By Ana Lucia Ramos Lisboa, 2007, Cape Verde, Drama, 77min, Cape Verdean Portuguese w/ English subtitles.
Sometimes distasteful practices are most effectively criticized with a good sense of humor. Meet Modou, a young, courageous and determined talibé - a pupil in a Koranic school - who manages to escape from his corrupt and abusive teacher to find a better life in contemporary Dakar, Senegal.
Amilcar Cabral was the leader of the Liberation Movement of Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau and the founder of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC). He was born in Guinea in 1924 and assassinated in Conakry in 1973. Regarded as a true icon of African history, this documentary provides considerable background to this revolutionary giant and reveals Cabral in several dimensions: as a man, a father, politician, humanist and poet.
The documentary is skillfully produced and uses a wealth of rare archive footage, balanced inclusion of varied testimonies of important African personalities and the credible recreation of notable episodes of Cabral's life.
BURKINA FASO / 2009 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 101 MIN
Mina is tired of her husband's infidelity and decides to take a drastic decision: She takes a second husband. Based on his conversations with women involved in polygamist relationships, he illustrates - to very funny effects - the daily life of two persons - in this case two men - who share a spouse. On a comedic tone, Abdoulaye Dao tells us a story of jealousy, infidelity, romance and revenge.
NIGERIA / 2008 / YORUBA WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 97 MIN
In “Arugbá,” the latest masterpiece by leading Nigerian filmmaker Tunde Kelani, the king of a small town in south-western Nigeria makes much publicized statements against corruption while instituting economic reforms and embracing foreign investors. But the reforms don’t appear to be trickling down to the people, the king trusts no one and has a weakness for women, which compromises his leadership.
Meanwhile, preparations are being made for a traditional ritual in which a young virgin – the arugbá – carries a sacrificial calabash. Adetutu is the beautiful young priestess selected by the oracle to carry the sacred calabash at the Osun Osogbo festival. The calabash can only be carried by a virgin, and after being abducted by three men, Adetutu’s chastity and suitability as the chosen one is questioned. Interwoven with themes of balance, love, loyalty, and loss, her tale also explores issues of governance, political corruption, HIV/AIDS and the influence of modernity over convention, all within the context of a culture that is rich with traditional values yet marred by traditional viewpoints.
With superb performances from Awoyemi and some of Nigeria’s leading actors, “Arugbá” is a beautifully executed film which functions as an allegory for contemporary Nigeria. Set against the backdrop of a corrupt society seeking cleansing, rebirth and nationhood, with all its attendant intrigues, the film intimately presents a world in which modernity and tradition exist alongside each other but seldom in equilibrium.
TUNISIA / 1992 / ARAB WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 100 MIN Official selection, Cannes 1992
"Bezness" takes place in one of Tunisia's beautiful coastline tourist cities. it tells the contemporary story of a young man trapped between Arab tradition and prostitution. Through this young man who dreams of escape, the Director, Nouri Bouzid, criticizes both the restrictions associated with what he calls "the hypocrisy of Islam" and the European ruling on Arab society.
“In many ways, Bezness is the most provocative of all Bouzid’s films. It is the first Arab film to deal with explicitly gay themes, and to situate male prostitution within the context of forced female seclusion and gender segregation.” ~ Garay Menicucci, Middle East Research and Information Project
Directed by Kinfe Banbu, 2014 | Ethiopia | Drama | 105 min | Amharic w/ English subtitles
Bilatena tells us the story of Abi, a young boy who is representative of million of children in Africa who do not attend school and work to sustain their families. Childhood Destroyed from Chad tells a similar story from a girl's perspective. Bilatena also introduces us to the problems of the Ethiopian health system.
Abi, a dynamic and resourceful twelve year old boy, lives with his mother Degua and his 26 year old university graduate unemployed brother Zelalem (Zele). Abi, who is a a hyper-industrious hard working 12-year-old boy with two jobs, supports his poor mother and his older unemployed brother through their day to day lives.
But when their mother dies of Hepatitis B and Abi is also infected with the virus, Zele must face the big challenge of supporting his own life and keeping his younger brother alive by earning the 20,000 Ethiopian birr per month needed for his brother's medication.
"A fairy tale with a real-life grit" ~ Celia Wren, The Washington Post
"Answering questions via e-mail from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Bilatenaproducer Melkam Yideg said the story drew on Banbu’s experience growing up in a neighborhood of the Ethiopian capital where children often skip school to earn money for their families. While drawing attention to this phenomenon, and to the importance of industriousness in general, the movie also aims to raise awareness about hepatitis, Yideg says. “From the feedback we [have received] from our audience, we can proudly say that we have met our goal,” she says." ~ Celia Wren, The Washington Post
Revealing films that give a voice to black women in the developing world: * Sexy Money is a wrenching testimony of the challenges faced by two women in Nigeria struggling to navigate a corrupt and ruthless capitalist and sexist environment. * Looking for Life follows two Haitian women's daily work and the constant battle for survival that they lead together with other women in Haiti.
SEXY MONEY presents a subtle indictment of the social reality of poor women in contemporary Nigeria.
A reflection of the difficult social conditions of women in many societies in different parts of the world, SEXY MONEYexplores frontally with much sensitivity and compassion the broken hopes and hard choices of poor Nigerian women as they struggle to reintegrate Nigerian society with dignity after being expelled from Europe where they were looking for a better life. Directed by Karin Junger, 2014, 85 min, Nigeria/ Netherlands, documentary, English.
LOOKING FOR LIFE
LOOKING FOR LIFE introduces the viewer to two women, Anne-Rose and Rosemene, who each one has their own particular way of battling through life. The former makes lunches in a factory yard in Port-au-Prince and sells her meals to the factory workers on credit; the latter is employed in the same factory as a production worker making pullovers and T-shirts. By Claudette Coulanges, 1999, Haiti/Germany, Documentary, 60min, Haitian Creole w/ English subtitles.
BELGIUM / 1999 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 54 MIN
The extraordinary and tragic saga of 267 Congolese, brought to Brussels for the 1897 World's Fair. After some four months of travel towards Belgium, they are exhibited before a million visitors. Subjected to the crushing gaze of the "Whites" and the cold climate, many fell prey to disease and even some lost their lives. The dead were hastily dispatched in a common grave, sparking a fierce debate in Belgian society. The project was overblown, but necessary in the eyes of the first colonizers, who presumed to have tamed the far-flung savages. One hundred years later, Congolese compatriots return to the scene of these events and question the "Whites" of today on the incredible story of that "human zoo". They carry out the ritual of "a return to the earth" by way of reparation for too great a hurt… A film that revisits a century of stereotyped conceptions about the Africans. And running through it, the almost aching question: "How is today different?"
FRANCE and ALGERIA / 2002 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 102 MIN
Six men and a woman set out on the hazardous journey from Senegal to Morocco in a bid to slip illegally into Europe to escape from the poverty and internecine warfare of Africa. All are lured by the promise of a better life, but the challenges are numerous. Passing through the hands of various smugglers, they cross the desert of Mauritania and Algeria, first in a pick up, then in the back of refrigerated fish trucks, and are finally dumped and forced to walk to the Moroccan border. Though each is lured by a different reason, they unite to overcome obstacles and finally reach the coast of Morocco, where they stand looking at Spain across the narrow Straits of Gibraltar. On reaching Tangiers, the invisible travelers go their separate ways and prepare to attempt the fateful crossing to Spain.
Mostefa Djadjam's beautiful debut feature confronts the global controversy of refugees while examining the complexities of human nature. Djadjam, originally trained as an actor, gives a restrained, compassionate account of what is at stake for illegal immigrants, fashioning a stunning film for its subtleties about identity. He presents consistent moral questions, demanding judgment on the decisions and actions of his characters when even the most sympathetic become ruthless and callous in their quest for a better life. The trip in Borders is not easy for either the travelers or the viewer who must watch these sad all–too human beings endure physical and psychological hardships before attaining “freedom.” Not all the travelers succeed. Some find love – some manage to laugh. The viewer, meanwhile, gains a new understanding of the problems which confront Africa-and more importantly, Africans-today.
CAPE VERDE / 2007 / CREOLE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 77 MIN
Praïa, Cape verde. Laura, Flavia and Bela are childhood friends. Each leads her own life and they sometimes meet to dance, dine and have fun. But one day the calm rivers of their lives break their banks and become wild torrents: Ricardo, Flavia's husband, rapes his pupil Indira, Laura's 13-year old eldest daughter. A film that takes a critical look at the lives of women in Cape Verde.
BURKINA FASO / 2015 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 99 MIN
Honorine, a married woman from a modest background with two young children and a loving husband is involved in a car accident that causes the death of a 17-year-old boy. The young man was the son of a rich and vindictive business man who makes every effort to ensure Honorine gets the worst treatment possible when she is sent to prison.
Through the life experiences of Honorine in prison, the film shows the harsh laws and vices of prison life: sexual harassment, physical and emotional violence, promiscuity and obligation to suffer without complaint or murmur. All these evils are the fruit of the imagination of officials and prison guards, and of prisoners themselves as they seek to meet their needs and their libido. Justice, only recourse of the weak, is mired in a system of corruption, influence peddling, where the reason of the strongest and the richest prevails.
Cell 512 received the prestigious Catholic Church-sponsored SIGNIS award during FESPACO 2015. SIGNIS, as an international association, promotes media for a culture of peace. The SIGNIS prize is always awarded to a film that promotes gospel, human or Christian values. Cell 512 received the award for “addressing matters that promote the integrity of family values in the face of severe challenges, presenting the relationship between men and women as complementary, and for its attention for the poor.”
CHAD / 1999 / ARABIC DIALECT AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 26 MIN
Eleven year old Mariam works as a domestic to provide for her guardian, her unemployed Uncle Djimet, and his family. Mariam wakes up early each day to go to work while Djimet, his wife Isabelle and their children are still asleep. Mariam works as an all-purpose maid, housekeeper, cook and baby sitter for the Nadji family. With her many tasks, she is constantly under pressure from Nadji and his son Moussa, and must answer to the whims of his wife, and young children. One day, Mariam is arrested for having unwittingly thrown rubbish in a prohibited place. She is detained for five days in prison without her uncle or employer even inquiring of her whereabouts. "Childhood destroyed" denounces the living conditions of young girls in Chad in a delicate yet powerful way.
SENEGAL AND FRANCE / 1999 / WOLOF WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
Public vans provide the traditional and sole means of city transportation in Dakar, Senegal. In a frenzy of activity, from the outskirts to downtown, people from all walks of life as well as fruits, vegetables, chickens, etc. are transported daily in these public vans. Colobane Express opens a window on a slice of life in the busy urban metropolis where drivers and their trainees are always on the go, managing relationships, incidents and conflicts, dealing with the competition and providing an invaluable service to demanding yet loving customers.
CHAD / 2006 / FRENCH AND ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 95 MIN
Chad, 2006. The government has granted amnesty to all war criminals. Atim, 16 years old, is given a revolver by his grandfather so that he may kill the man who killed his father... Atim leaves his village for N’djamena, seeking a man he does not know. He quickly locates him: former war criminal Nassara is now married and settled down as the owner of a small bakery... With the firm intention of killing him, Atim gets closer to Nassara under the guise of looking for work, and is hired as an apprentice baker… Intrigued by Atim's attitude toward him, Nassara takes him under his wing and teaches him the secrets of making bread... Over the weeks, a strange relationship evolves between the two. Despite his disgust, Atim seems to recognise in Nassara the father figure he has always needed, while Nassara sees the teenager as a potential son. One day, he suggests adoption...
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Starring: Ali Barkai
Starring: Youssouf Djaoro
Starring: Aziza Hisseine
Now available in DVD set: Great African Films Vol 3 with The Desert Ark
EGYPT / 1999 / ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 80 MIN
A homeless man dies of an overdose in a popular Cairo neighborhood. He was once an ideal husband and represented security for his family. Then one day, everything changed. Upon his death his friends from the underworld drag the corpse around for a whole night of madness, drinking and hallucinating situations. A game with death where the dead man becomes more alive than the living and fallen angels live according to their own rules, laws and desires in the chaos of the Egyptian capital. The film is based on a famous short story written by the Brazilian writer Jorge Amado.
MALI / 1997 / SONGHOÏ WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 90 MIN
Zamiatou is the mother of two quarrelsome boys and a depressed teenage girl. She is also the wife of a man arrested for political reasons who returns from prison mentally and physically destroyed. She struggles hard to survive in a poor and desolate area. She is ready to face anything to keep the family alive except prostituting her beautiful daughter. Her determination will take her far from her family…
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Abbdoulaye Ascofaré
Starring: Aminata Ousmane
Starring: Balla Moussa Keita
Starring: Safiatou Mahamane
DVD entitled GREAT AFRICAN FILMS - VOL 1 - also includes feature film Haramuya
CHAD / 1994 / ARABIC ND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 22 MIN
Images presented in Feminine Dilemma are almost unsustainable to watch. One witnesses the circumcision operation performed on two young girls as women surrounding them in a courtyard clap their hands, dance and sing "you will not cry or we will never forgive you". Following this harrowing sequence, the film presents a series of interviews with religious leaders, women group representatives, health workers, everyday people and the girls themselves and asks the question: why female circumcision? Should it be performed and how? And what are the consequences? Following the making of this film, scandal broke and threats and attacks against the filmmaker followed. But once the dust settled, a debate started in Chad which allowed for open discussions of a topic that is still taboo in many parts of the world today. As for the filmmaker, Zara M. Yacoub, she will remain marked for life by her experiences making and defending this very courageous and disturbing documentary.
GREAT AFRICAN FILMS: VOLUME 1 :Haramuya & Faraw! Mother of the Dunes-Two films are included in the package, making for an entertaining and edifying double feature experience: Drissa Toure’sHaramuya (1995) is a dramatic comedy about several generations of a traditional Muslim family scraping up against various temptations (crime, movies, drugs, music) of modernity in the city ofOuagadougou, the capital ofBurkina Faso, and Abbdoulaye Ascofare’sFaraw: Mother of the Dunes(1997), from Mali is about a mother of three who struggles to support her family while saving her daughter from becoming the concubine-maid of a French colonialist.
FARAW! MOTHER OF THE DUNES
Zamiatou is the mother of two quarrelsome boys and a depressed teenage girl. She is also the wife of a man arrested for political reasons who returns from prison mentally and physically destroyed. She struggles hard to survive in a poor and desolate area. She is ready to face anything to keep the family alive except prostituting her beautiful daughter. Her determination will take her far from her family… Detail by detail, this finely lensed first feature salutes the triumph of human ingenuity over terrible odds.
| Mali|1997| 90min | drama in Songhai with English subtitles | Abbdoulaye Ascofare, Dir. | Best Actress, FESPACO 1997. Cannes 1997 Official Selection, International Critics Week.
“One of the strongest portraits of female determination to come out of Africa in recent years.” ~ VARIETY
Ouagadougou, its buildings and shantytowns... Wealth in a modern town and poverty in the suburbs. Through Fousseini — a Muslim firmly attached to his faith, traditions and family, Haramuya draws a picture of Ouagadougou trapped between 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.
| Burkina Faso/France |1995 | 87min |comedy in French with English subtitles |Drissa Toure, Dir. | Official selection, Cannes 1995 “Un Certain Regard.”
GREAT AFRICAN FILMS, VOLUME 2: Tasuma / Sia, the Dream of the Python- The second installment in this series of award-winning films from Africa includes Kollo Sanou's Tasuma, the Fighter (2003, 90 minutes, French and Jula with English subtitles), a look at the impact of French colonialism on Africa; Former Senegalese tirailleurs, Burkinabe soldier Sogo Sanou waits patiently for his pension, which he plans to use to build a grain mill for the women of his village; Inspired by the seventh-century myth of the Wagadu people of Western Africa is Dani Kouyate's Sia, the Dream of the Python (2001, 96 minutes, Bambara with English subtitles): To bring back prosperity to his village, a King decides to make a human sacrifice to the mystical snake god; Sia, the most beautiful woman in the village, is chosen for the ritual, but she runs away in revolt. - 186 minutes.
TASUMA, THE FIGHTER
Sogo Sanou, a.k.a. Tasuma, is a former French soldier, a part of the African troops better known as “tiralleurs senegalais” who fought in the French wars in Europe and its colonial territories. He was a soldier in the wars of Indochina and Algeria. Although an honored veteran, Tasuma spends decades painfully waiting for his small pension, an amount that in his native Burkina Faso represents a fortune, even though it will equal only a small fraction of the amount paid to his French counterparts.
In a scene that takes us back to another African classic, The Money Order by Ousmane Sembene, Tasuma impulsively buys a treadmill for the women in his village with the money represented by his future pension payment, although he doesn’t know exactly when it will come through.
The money does not arrive, and our hero is in trouble and out of patience. With his old rifle he walks into the pension plan administrator’s office and demands his money. He ends up in jail, and it is up to the women from the village to come down to the city to free Tasuma. Tasuma the Fighter, is a portrait of a bureaucratic adventure that, even 60 years after World War II and 44 years after the independence movement in Africa, is not yet resolved.
As Kollo Daniel Sanou, the director of Tasuma, points out: “The story of Tasuma is also the narration of a historic mismatch, that of the particular status of those former combatants of the African troupes in the French Army.”
|Burkina Faso|2003| 90min | comedy in French/Moore with English subtitles | Daniel Kollo Sanou, Dir. | Winner Bronze Yennenga Stallion, FESPACO 2005
"Tasuma camouflages its razor-sharp indignation with warmth and disarming grace" ~ VILLAGE VOICE
"Director and writer Kollo Daniel Sanou is in a becalmed, idyllic state of mind, as he leans back and lets this mildly satiric parable unfold." ~ THE NEW YORK TIMES
SIA: THE DREAM OF THE PYTHON
Kombi is a poverty-stricken city dominated by a tyrant king. In order to bring back prosperity, the king is advised by his priests to make the traditional human sacrifice of a young virgin to a mystical snake god. Sia, the most beautiful young woman of the village, has been designated. Lieutenant Mamadi, her fiancé, rebels against the decision to perform this ritual, and the village becomes divided. Struggles and revelations follow as the characters confront issues of honor, corruption and power.
| Burkina Faso/France |2001 | 96min |Epic Drama in Bambara with English subtitles |Dani Kouyaté, Dir. | Winner “Special Prize of the Jury” FESPACO 2001 - Official Selection Cannes 2001.
“A delightful, pointed fable of religious and political extremism that's extra-relevant at present” ~ Dennis Harvey - VARIETY
"Delivers a powerful commentary on how governments lie, no matter who runs them" NEW YORK POST