BRAZIL / 1984 / EPIC DRAMA / BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 114 MIN
This historical saga is a stirring fusion of folklore, political impact and dynamic story-telling, realized in vibrant tropical colors and set to the pulsing beat of Gilberto Gil's musical score. After the slave revolt of 1641, groups of enslaved black Brazilians escaped to mountainous jungle strongholds where they formed self-governing communities. This film is the chronicle of the most famous of these communities which flourished for several decades under the reign of the legendary chieftain Ganga Zumba.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Carlos Diegues
Starring: Antônio Pompêo, Tony Tornado, Zeze Motta, Zózimo Bulbul
In the midst of the Cold War, ten young promising musicians from Mali are sent to Cuba to study music and strengthen cultural links between the two socialist countries. Combining Malian and Afro-Cuban influences, they develop a revolutionary new sound and become the iconic ensemble ‘Las Maravillas de Mali’. New Year’s Eve 2000. Richard Minier, a French music producer meets a former member of the band in Bamako and decides to bring the band back together.
Directed by Edouard Salier and Richard Minier | 2020 | 81min |France, Cuba, Mali | Documentary | Spanish, French with English subtitles
CUBA AND SWITZERLAND / 2005 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 76 MIN
Sara Gomez, An Afro-Cuban Filmmaker is a rich, multilayered documentary about Afro-Cuban director Sarah Gomez. Born in 1943, she studied literature, piano, and Afro-Cuban ethnography before becoming the first female Cuban filmmaker. A woman of great intelligence, independence and generosity, she was a revolutionary filmmaker with intersecting concerns about the Afro-Cuban community and the value of its cultural traditions, women's issues, and the treatment of the marginalized sectors of society. Through archival footage of her works and interviews with her children and husband Germinal Hernandez, cast members of her best-know film De cierta manera,as well as colleagues and friends, we get closer to a filmmaker who invented new landscapes and brought together opposite worlds.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Alessandra Muller
Starring: Sara Gómez
Part of 2-set DVD Afro-Cuba: Yesterday and Todaywhich also includes The last Rumba of Papa Montero.
MEXICO / 2018 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 104 MIN
Critically acclaimed drama Black Mexicans / La Negrada by Jorge Pérez has recently been acquired by Artmattan Productions!
Black Mexicans / La Negrada is the first Mexican feature film about the Afro-Mexican community, filmed entirely with people from different towns around the Costa Chica in Oaxaca.
Among the black people in the Costa Chica in Oaxaca, it is socially accepted that a man lives with more than one woman. Juana and Magdalena share Neri’s love, they both know that this situation is hurting them. Juana will have to die in order to show Magdalena a new path for her life.
In Mexico, the afro communities represents only 1% of the total population. They have never been recognized as an ethnic group, nation or culture, suffering discrimination as an outcast group. LA NEGRADA is the first Mexican fiction movie filmed entirely in one of those black communities, with local people, no professional actors. An effort to give them voice and make them visible.
BRAZIL / 2001 / PORTUGUESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 100 MIN
Set in 19th century Brazil - at a time when slavery was still at the foundation of the Latin American economy - this fascinating historical drama is loosely based on the life of Black sculptor Antonio Francisco Lisboa "Aleijadinho," one of the greatest sculptors of Latin America.
Race and its impact on the art and history of Brazil are highlighted in this two-disc set with Joel Zito Araujo's documentary Denying Brazil (A Negacao do Brasil, 92 mins) and Geraldo Santos Pereira's Aleijadinho: Passion, Glory and Torment (Aleijadinho: Paixao, Gloria e Suplicio, 100 mins.)
Denying Brazil A Negacao do Brasil
A documentary film about the taboos, stereotypes, and struggles of Black actors in Brazilian television "soaps." Based on his own memories and on a sturdy body of research evidence, the director analyzes race relations in Brazilian soap operas, calling attention to their likely influence on Black people's identity-forming processes
Aleijadinho: Passion, Glory and Torment Aleijadinho: Paixao, Gloria e Suplicio
Set in 18th century Brazil - a time when slavery was still the foundation of the Latin American economy - this fascinating historical drama is loosely based on the life of Black sculptor Antonio Francisco Lisboa "Aleijadinho," one of the greatest sculptors of Latin America. “[DENYING BRAZIL is] a strong and significant work of intelligence." – Phil Hall, FILM THREAT
“[Aleijadinho is an] ambitious biopic of 18th century black Brazilian sculptor/architect Antonio Francisco Lisboa (aka Aleijadinho).” – Ronnie Scheib, VARIETY
HAITI / 2007 / CREOLE AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 110 MIN
Jimmy Jean-Louis -- featured among the cast of the television phenomenon “Heroes,” -- stars as musician extraordinaire in denial, President, in this Haitian comedy-drama about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Dao is the biggest movie star in Haiti, the self-proclaimed "President of Compas." He has women falling at his feet and men emulating him. He feels invincible-living the life of a rock star--sex, drugs and alcohol--except that he can no longer hide his illness which is threatening to derail his career. Despite pressure from his manager, he refuses to get tested for AIDS, turning instead to rituals, spells, and the church. At one of his concerts, he rescues Nina from the leery advances of Larieux, a wealthy and powerful businessman, who Nina's mother wants her to marry. As romance blossoms between Dao and Nina, who likes Dao despite his fame, not because of it, Larieux plots his revenge. Also starring Riccardo Lefeuvre and Jessica Geneus.
HAITI AND GERMANY / 1999 / CREOLE WITH FRENCH AND ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 60 MIN
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; the latter is employed in the same factory as a production worker making pullovers and T-shirts. Every day she buys her midday meal on credit from Anne-Rose. Through the connection between these two women the film shows part of their daily work and the constant battle for survival that they lead together with other women in Haiti. Going beyond this, however the film demonstrates the extent to which the importation of North American goods has brought about the collapse of Haitian regional production and ruined Haiti's economy. The connection between the two topics of the film reveals the significant role that Haitian women of today play in an economy that has been bled dry.
BRAZIL / 1997 / PORTUGUESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 38 MIN
On March 13, 1992, Vicente Francisco do Espirito Santo, a Black Brazilian who worked in a government-owned electricity company, was fired from his job. It did not take long for him to realize that his dismissal was directly linked to his skin color. Encouraged by his union and a strong Black empowerment movement, he began a judicial process which he won, and as a result was reinstated in his former position. This informative documentary about an unknown victory illustrates how the courts of Brazil did recognize the company's prejudice and racism in a country where such realities are usually dismissed as atypical.
THE VALLEY OF THE BLACK DESCENDANTS (EL VALLE DE LOS NEGROS)
THE VALLEY OF THE BLACK DESCENDANTS (EL VALLE DE LOS NEGROS)
DIRECTED BY Richard Salgado
Chile / 2017/ SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 min
In the Azapa Valley (Chile), an oasis in the driest desert in the world, a group of descendants of enslaved men and women brought from Africa are organizing the first African census in the history of Chile. Their aim is to get official recognition from the State that has concealed their culture and African identity for more than 200 years.
FRANCE / 2013 / FRENCH AND SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 93 MIN
Tango Negro, The African Roots of Tangoby Angolan filmmaker Dom Pedro explores the expression of Tango’s Africanness and the contribution of African cultures in the creation of the tango. Tango was a reflection of the social life of the enslaved Africans that were taken to South America - including Argentina and Uruguay - mostly from central Africa, particularly from the former Kongo Kingdom. Director Dom Pedro reveals the depth of the footprints of the African music on the tango, through this rich movie combining musical performances and interviews from many tango fans and historians in Latin America and Europe, including the renowned Argentinean pianist Juan Carlos Cáceres.
PERU ND BELGIUM / 2003 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 54 MIN
Susana Baca is not only a champion in the performance and preservation of Afro-Peruvian heritage, but also an elegant singer whose shimmering voice sings of love, loss and life. Susana and her husband Ricardo Pereira have founded the Instituto Negrocontinuo “Black Continuum” in Lima, a spirited facility for the exploration, expression, and creation of Black Peruvian culture. While Baca has dedicated herself to researching and performing virtually all forms of Afro-Peruvian folklore, it is the lando that has become her trademark. This slow to mid-tempo, highly evocative mix of Spanish, Indigenous and African rhythms has become what the son is to Cuba, or the samba to Brazil--the lando is the sound of Black Peru.
Two exciting, colorful films spotlight the African roots of Cuba's culture by focusing on two legendary artists -- Rumbero Papa Montero and Filmmaker Sara Gomez -- in this unique box set.
THE LAST RUMBA OF PAPA MONTERO / LA ULTIMA RUMBA DE PAPA MONTERO
Get ready to rumba! The life of Cuba s last great rumbero is detailed in THE LAST RUMBA OF PAPA MONTERO, a bold story that captures Cuban traditions and culture through beautiful imagery, sensual music, and the most scorching Latin dance ever invented. Afro-Cuban mythology serves as the force behind the narrative as mythic figures guide the characters through the events of the story.
| Cuba/Martinique | 1992 | 52 mins | docu-drama in Spanish with English subtitles | Octavio Cortazar, Dir. |
“Montero is a celebration of rumba as heart and soul for a colorful Cuban landscape." - SLANT
SARA GOMEZ: AN AFRO-CUBAN FILMMAKER
Acclaimed filmmaker Sara Gomez comes to life in the rich, multilayered documentary SARA GOMEZ: AN AFRO-CUBAN FILMMAKER. Though trained in ethnography, Gomez became the first female Cuban filmmaker. Her background shaped her films, which reflect her interests in Afro-Cuban cultural traditions and women s issues. Friends and family members recall her talent, intelligence, and generosity. Ultimately SARA GOMEZ is a love story between Sara and her husband (filmmaker Germinal Hernandez), Sara and her family, and Sara and her culture. | Cuba/Switzerland | 2005 | 76 min | documentary in Spanish with English subtitles | Alessandra Muller, Dir. |
"[SARA GOMEZ] is an extremely important documentary.... " - Kwame Dixon, SCOPE
LA ULTIMA RUMBA DE PAPA MONTERO (THE LAST RUMBA OF PAPA MONTERO)
LA ULTIMA RUMBA DE PAPA MONTERO (THE LAST RUMBA OF PAPA MONTERO)
DIRECTED BYOCTAVIO CORTAZAR
CUBA AND MARTINIQUE / 1992 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
A fascinating film on the rhythmic dance genre known as Rumba, La Ultima Rumba de Papa Montero dances around the life of Papa Montero, one of the famous rumberos of Cuba, assassinated during carnival. A discovery of Cuban traditions and every day life told through beautiful images, sensual music and dance. The use of Afro-Cuban mythology is the force behind the characters as orishas guide the characters' fate.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Nick Hughes
Starring: Eric Bridges Twahirwa
Starring: Cleophas Kabasita
Starring: Davis Kagenza
DVD Afro-Cuba: Yesterday and Today which also includes Sara Gomez: An Afro-Cuban Filmmaker.
CUBA/ 2008/ ENGLISH, FRENCH SUBTITLES/HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY/ 52 MINS
The Black Mozart in Cuba is the latest act in the rehabilitation of the memory of this extraordinary human being. The film skillfully combines biographical information with performances of his works.
Born in Guadeloupe of a Senegalese enslaved woman and a French nobleman, Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), became one of the most remarkable figures of the 18th century. He influenced the music and political life of his time. He was a genius composer and conductor, a virtuoso violinist, the best fencer in Europe, as well as the first black general in the French army. For 200 years after his death his music was rarely heard, due in part to Napoleon’s efforts to erase his existence from history. Today, his music is being rediscovered and played by orchestras and music groups around the world. In this documentary, Cuba dedicates a week of cultural activities to his memory and welcomes Saint Georges as “a great hero of the Caribbean.”
CUBA / 1986 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 96 MIN
Placido portraits the dramatic story of Gabriel de la Concepcio Valdes (Placido), a mulatto Cuban poet accused of leading a conspiracy against the Spanish colonial government. Preoccupied by the development of Afro-Hispanic artist and craftsmen of the mid XIX century, Placido was executed after living a short and controversial life as a man between two races and between a cruel reality and a dream of freedom.
BRAZIL / 1988 / PORTUGUESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 100 MIN
The name ‘Natal da Portela’ is historically attached to the cultural identity of Brazil. Natal da Portela created the first escola de samba in Rio de Janeiro. The schools of samba are the soul of carnival in Brazil and major reservoirs of Afro-Brazilian culture. The film depicts the life of Natal da Portela as a young man from the favelas--the slums of the northern part of Rio de Janeiro--up to the creation of “la Portela”, the school of samba he created. The principal role played by Milton Goncalves, one of the major Black actors in Brazil, gives the story an authentic flavor rarely seen in films portraying the contemporary life of Black people in Brazil. This is a film filled with joy, music and laughter. “Natal da Portela” is also a film that narrates the story of contemporary Brazil and the legacy of African people in that country. Several other major actors enrich the story, Zeze Mota well known for her role in “Quilombo” and the dean of Black Brazilian actors, the great Grande Otello much remembered for his major role in Rio Zona Norte and Macunaima just to mention a few titles.
CUBA / 1979 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 95 MIN
Maluala takes us into a palenque, a settlement of escaped slaves hidden somewhere in Cuba's eastern mountains, where discord is sown between black "kings" by clever subversives working for the Spanish government.
"Sergio Giral is the best known of the Black Cuban directors and his previous films were historical observations of the period of slavery in Cuba, the gradual rise of rebellion against colonial traditions, and the ultimate freedom that resulted. Maluala is the most striking addition to this genre. The action takes place during the last century in the region of Maluala. Gallo, the black chieftain, together with his cohort, Coba, present a petition for land and liberty to the colonial government. Governor Escudero offers liberty if the rebellious villages will be dismantled and their men offer themselves in surrender. He promises that they will be freed shortly thereafter. Three chieftains agree, but Gallo and Coba refuse... Giral has mounted Maluala with colorful ritual and acting. Samuel Claxton, as Gallo, is highly stylized in the heroic tradition. It is an absorbing adventure film wrought from historical events which appear violent, but Giral constantly implants into every image the necessity for unity among people in order to combat man's seemingly casual desire to subjugate mankind, in the struggle for power and undefined ambition." ~ /San Francisco Film Festival, 1980/
"The historically lucid intrigues of Maluala (1979), where the Afrocentric leadership of fugitive palenque communities is pitted against each other COINTELPRO-style by Spanish colonists, is one of those Cuban films that were forged in a righteous, red-hot ferment but still found the courage and wit to ask questions about the society around them." ~Gary Dauphin, The Village Voice
COLOMBIA/BRAZIL/FRANCE / 2012 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 90 MIN
Tomas,an Afro-Colombian teenager who fled the country's Pacific coast pushed out by the war, faces the difficulties of growing up in a city if exclusion and racism. When Jairo, his younger brother and closest friend disappears, Tomas plunges in the streets of the city. His search becomes an initiatory journey that compels him to face his past and to leave aside the influence of his is brothers in order to find his own identity. Through this journey, Tomas reveals a unique perspective of a vibrant and unstable city that, like Tomas, stands on the threshold between what once was and what might be.
Kafe Negro tells the story of migrations around a small grain that has become the second most important raw material on the global market. This film tells the story of the waves of migration of Haitian workers who, over time, have profoundly transformed the culture and demography of Cuba and allowed the development of coffee growing on the island.
Directed by Mario Delatour | Cuba & Haiti | 2020 | Documentary | French and Spanish with English subtitles
In 1993, death squads opened fire on a group of sleeping street children camped on the steps of a cathedral in Rio de Janeiro’s central financial district, killing six. This event, later called the Candelaria massacre, is vividly depicted in this short film about the plight of street children in Brazil.
In today’s Ecuador, the black population, the descendants of enslaved Africans, continue to experience strong racial and social discrimination. Yet people in the community still strive to value their specific culture and transmit the rebellious memory of their ancestors who fought for freedom.The Esmeraldas Beachsets out to expose the invisibility of Afro-Ecuadorians and rectify the narrative of the country’s history with the film’s central protagonist, Juan García, who has worked on that project for years. He developed a school book that presents black Ecuadorians prominently since the only Afro-descendants shown in local school books are portrayed next to a marimba and football. The documentary also addresses the 1999 assassination of Prime Minister Jaime Hurtado, the first Black to hold this office.
Directed by Patrice Raynal, 2020, France/Ecuador, 58 minutes, documentary, French and Spanish with English subtitles.
URUGUAY / 2005 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 100 MIN
Obdulio is an 11-year-old Afro-Uruguayan boy who lives with his grandmother and sells newspapers for a living while he cannot read or write. Obdulio is not interested in going to school until he finds out that the night watchman of the newspaper's office is a charismatic magical "Maestro" who not only introduces him to the world of literacy but also teaches him the real meaning of life through the lyrics of the "Murgas" (Carnival Pierrots) during the mythical nights of the irreverent and provocative Uruguayan carnival.
With a poetic nod to Fellini, Leonardo Ricagni uses the carnival atmosphere to transport the viewer to a magical place where realism and surrealism live side by side in Uruguay—and what a wonderful place to be. With sweeping directorial vision and gorgeously shot with rich, vibrant colors, A DIOS MOMO achieves a rich visual and spiritual sensibility unparalleled today. – Shaz Bennett AFI Fest 2005
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Nick Hughes
Starring: Jorge Esmoris
Starring: Mathias Acuna
Starring: Washington Luna
DVD bonus film: Candombe
DIRECTED BY RAFAEL DEUGENIO
URUGUAY / 1993 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 16 MIN
More than two hundred years ago, there was an influx into Uruguay of slaves from Africa whom, after being freed, continued to make up the poorest and most marginalized strata in society. Fernado Nunez, a black man, a musician, and a maker of drums, sees himself as the heir to "Candombe", an important social and cultural legacy from his slave forefathers. The official history and culture of Uruguay, on the other hand, which has never acknowledged this contribution to the degree which it deserves, continues to marginalize expressions of black culture. Fernando Nunez and his friends from the Barrio Sur back street quarter of Montevideo have decided to fight to keep these important cultural roots alive in the consciousness of the Uruguayan people.
Currently censored in Brazil,Marighellais a new Brazilian action drama set in 1969 based on the life of Afro-Brazilian politician and guerrilla fighter Carlos Marighella. Facing a violent military dictatorship and with little support from a timid opposition, writer-turned-politician Carlos Marighella organizes a resistance movement. Alongside revolutionaries 30 years younger than him and willing to fight, the revolutionary leader opts for action. The film is adapted from the biography Marighella - O Guerrilheiro que Incendiou o Mundo, by Mario Magalhaes. Brazilian musical artist, songwriter, and actor Seu Jorge plays Carlos Marighella.
Directed by Wagner Moura, 2019, Brazil, 155min, historical action drama, Portuguese w/ English subtitles
* Berlinale 2019 | Official Selection - Out of Competition * INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT CRITICS PRIZE (Premio Giuseppe Becce) * ONE OF SCREEN CRITICS' TOP FILMS FROM BERLIN 2019
"Angry and brutally necessary for the Brazil of today,Marighellais put together coolly and confidently by the green [Wagner] Moura." ~ One Room With A View
"Marighella works fine as an exciting and highly assured debut, with a terrific ensemble cast at its heart." ~ Hollywood Reporter