FRANCE and ALGERIA / 1997 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 90 MIN
In a housing project located on the outskirts of Paris renamed "100% Arabica" by its inhabitants, African immigrants live side by side. The residents are united by their struggle for recognition in a society where immigrants are often regarded as second class citizens. In a world of exiles, poverty is the common denominator. Against this backdrop, director Zemmouri has brought together two of the biggest and most charismatic stars of the cross-cultural musical form known as Rai, Cheb Mami and Khaled, who play the leaders of a band called Rap Oriental. As the band of musicians starts to gain in popularity, the Imam of the local mosque (Mouss) tries to destroy them by stirring up racial and cultural tensions. However, no one can stop the infectious popularity of the songs in this story of music triumphing over bigotry and violence.
EGYPT / 2002 / ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 14 MIN
Sami and his wife Sarah are packing to move to the USA where they intend to open a restaurant. Rania, Sarah's sister, goes to their house to take them to the airport, but some unexpected and unforeseeable events take place in the apartment: games of seduction, murder and dead bodies to be disposed of. A surrealist comedy by Ahmed Hassouna who belongs to a new group of young promising Egyptian filmmakers.
From the sea and sun of the Cape Verde Island, it's a very big step to rainy, gloomy, land-locked Luxembourg, but that's the journey 20-year-old Dju Dele Dibonga must take to track down his dad, whose yearly visits and monthly guest worker checks have stopped. But it's not just the weather that's not welcoming, Dju also has to face overzealous immigration cops intent on filling deportation quotas and the noisy outrage of a hard-boozing police lieutenant (veteran actor Philippe Léotard). Dad's trail looks cold, until lieutenant decides to join in the hunt and to become Dju's partner in this tale of love and friendship. With the exceptional participation of Cape Verdian singer Cesaria Evora as Dju's mother and Manu Dibango as himself.
Two documentaries that explore the life of black people in Europe. GURUMBÉ: AFRO-ANDALUSIAN MEMORIES is a documentary that explores the contribution of Africans to Spain from the 15th to the 18th centuries.THE BLACK MOZART IN CUBA celebrates the The Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a remarkable man who lived in France in the 18th century.
Flamenco is synonymous with Spanish culture. Yet, since its inception, theorists have sidelined the fundamental contribution of Afro-Andalusians to this art form. As the black population began to diminish in Spain in the late 19th century, so too did their contribution to this extraordinary art form. In Gurumbé: Afro-Andalusian Memories, their story is finally told. Directed by M. Angel Rosales, 2016, Spain/Mexico/Portugal/Senegal, documentary, 72min, Spanish and Portuguese w/ English subtitles.
BLACKS MOZART IN CUBA
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.
Directed by Steve James, Stephanie James, 2008, 52 min, Guadeloupe, Documentary, English, French, Spanish with 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?"
Directed by Hicham Ayouch, 2014, 90 min, France/Morocco/UAE/Qatar, French, drama, English subt.
Fevers, winner of FESPACO - Africa's largest film festival - 2015 grand prize, the Golden Stallion of Yennenga, is a French version of We Need to Talk About Kevin about a disturbed young man raised on foster care who enters his father's Muslim household in the suburbs of Paris and becomes a major source of disruption in the family.
At only thirteen, Benjamin is a little soldier at war with life, adults and with himself. Since the age of five, the troubled kid goes back and forth into foster homes. But when his mother goes to jail and reveals to Benjamin the existence of his father, the young boy is determined to get out of foster care. So when the social worker gives him the choice, he decides to go live at his unknown father's place.
Director's creative statement
Fevers could have been, filmed in any city, but I chose to shoot this story in a working class neighborhood. In terms of writing and directing the movie breaks stereotypes, it has a more modern and contrasted vision of that world.
In the suburbs, everything is intense, extreme and violence prevails as well, however there's also poetry and a great joy for life and as a storyteller that's what inspired me about it. The people living in this neighborhood are funny, easy to become attached to and especially human. That humanity is a beautiful cinematographic tool, because it holds emotions and, as a director, I only strive towards emotions.
The work on the picture has been carried out in the same poetical approach, I gave the image a soft grain noise in order for it to work in contrast with the story's toughness; I built a rather polished image with very well arranged shots so as to transport the audience to another dimension. Graphically. I worked a lot on the buildings architecture and on the lines in order to enhance their geometry. The idea was to make the tall buildings seem like living beings following the rhythm of the characters pulses.
The story is naturalistic, but I decided to go with very firm viewpoints in terms of light with a lot of contrasts and vivid colors. Work on the set decoration was carried out in that same optic, some walls were painted in green, blue or red, this way every character had a color that attunes to him. Lastly, the work on sound and music was also based on that same need for contrast, with the aim, here again, to transport the viewer to another universe.
TUNISIA AND FRANCE / 2016 / ARABIC AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 92 MIN
Seeking refuge from her Islamist radical brother whom she informed on, a young woman arrives in France illegally following Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution and discovers a new world of both hope and danger, in the fourth feature from writer-director Raja Amari (Satin Rouge, Buried Secrets).
In the turbulent aftermath of the Tunisian revolution, young Samia (Sarra Hannachi) flees her homeland. She braves hostile seas in the crossing to France, but once there she finds that her struggles have only just begun. With no friends, no family, and - most crucially - no immigration papers, Samia has to figure out how to make a life and a living in a foreign land.
She meets a young man, Imed (Salim Kechiouche, Blue is the Warmest Color), and soon finds work in the employ of the elegant Leila (the inimitable Hiam Abbass, subject of an In Conversation With event at the Festival this year). But her presence in Leila's middle-class household triggers a shift in its dynamics, and soon Samia is enmeshed in a web of sexual tension.
Timely as it is, Foreign Body seems to typify a media narrative of forced mass migration: desperate, distressing, impossible. The film transcends this sweeping, reductive thinking due to the way director Raja Amari immerses her camera in Samia's new reality. She shoots with a close, handheld aesthetic that makes abstraction and generalization all but impossible, bringing us the story of a unique young woman.
Hannachi portrays her character's inner turmoil brilliantly. Samia is sometimes ragged and sometimes refined, ranging from stoic to sensual, but this is not because she's unstable. Rather, it's because of her ability to change in response to different situations and environments - an ability born of necessity. This is a woman determined to survive at all costs.
SPAIN, MEXICO, PORTUGAL, AND SENEGAL / 2016 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUTITLES / 72 MIN
Flamenco is synonymous with Spanish culture. Yet, since its inception, theorists have sidelined the fundamental contribution of Afro-Andalusians to this art form.
Commercial exploitation of the American colonies brought hundreds of Africans to Spain to be sold as slaves, forming a population which, over time, managed to gain space in a society wrought with racial prejudices. Music and dance were a fundamental part of their expression and the most important affirmation of their identity. As the black population began to disappear from Spain in the late 19th century, so too did their contribution to this extraordinary art form. In Gurumbe: Afro-Andalusian Memories, their story is finally told.
"There are a number of musical performances in Gurumbe, but the tone of the film is surprisingly measured, authoritative, and at times something close to academic. As a result, it is highly credible and convincing." - j.b. spins Read Full Review HERE
JOSEPHINE BAKER: BLACK DIVA IN A WHITE MAN'S WORLD
DIRECTED BYANNETTE VON WANGENHEIM
GERMANY, U.S. AND FRANCE / 2006 / ENGLISH, GERMAN, AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 45 MIN
A tender, revealing documentary about one of the most famous and popular performing artists of the 20th century. Her legendary banana belt dance created theatre history; her song “J’ai deux amours” became a classic, and her hymn.
The film focuses on her life and work from a perspective that analyses images of Black people in popular culture. It portrays the artist in the mirror of European colonial clichés and presents her as a resistance fighter, an ambulance driver during WWII, and an outspoken activist against racial discrimination involved in the worldwide Black Consciousness movement of the 20th century.
Director:Dominique Loreau From:Belgium Year:1994Minutes:76 Language:French with English subtitles Genre:docu-drama
In this film whose title is a Senegalese proverb, a griot (story teller) traveling from Dakar to Brussels weaves a tale about African expatriates and offers a candid look at the life of African immigrants in Belgium. With Sotigui Kouyate - a real life griot - as the story teller.
Twenty-year old Naomi lives a simple life with her younger siblings in Peru. Only her big sister seems to live a life of fortune, being married in Germany. But now she is dead, murdered by her German husband.
Stunned by the news, Naomi can't imagine accompanying her mother to Germany, the land of the crime. But then she changes her mind, becomes a joint plaintiff, and takes part in the trial in Berlin.
InNaomi's Journey Frieder Schleich (Otomo) continues to explore the life of immigrants in Germany. His staging of a realistic trial using real-life lawyers illustrates the inner working of the German justice system and its dispassionate proceedings.
"The film follows the murder trial of a young South American woman within the framework of a hidden women and marriage trafficking market. The film is about justice and objectivity in the German legal system." ~ Hof international film festival
Directed by Frieder Schlaich, 2018, Germany / Peru, 93min, legal thriller, German and Spanish with English subtitles.
"The director composes a haunting puzzle about moral standards, trust and cultural clashes." ~ Brazilian Press
"Rising star Scarlett Jaimes gives a compelling performance in the title role presenting the turbulence of a fragile young lady with brilliant nuance." ~ Brazilian Press
"It's a gripping, accurate courtroom drama." ~ Brazilian Press
ALGERIA AND FRANCE / 1997 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 96 MIN
Sixty five years old Abdelkader Silimani, an Algerian Muslin living in France, after inadvertently witnessing a murder, closely escapes from the murderers by hiding out into a mosque. The black leather dressed masked murderers, with their firearms in hand, do not hesitate to enter the mosque full of praying men looking for the eyewitness. They leave empty handed but determined not to give up their search.
Detective Leclerc is assigned to the case. As he searches for the eyewitness who stays mute with fear, the detective slowly discovers the Northern Paris Muslim community and its traditions. For the first time, the French detective is exposed to the contradictions and challenges minority communities face as they struggle to live in a new culture with a different set of values and religious beliefs.
No Shade explores the hardships of the modern dating world through the dysmorphic presence of colorism as well as the fetishization of black women in a way that is tactful and honest. Jade is both effervescent and relatable as a 28 year old single woman of dark complexion who just “can't seem to get it right,” let alone liberate herself from her unrequited love for the repressive and colorist Danny. The world through her eyes is both a quirky and tumultuous obstacle course of courtship catastrophes and heart-gripping silences. Despite Jade's line up of Tinder flops and her challenges in the friend-zone, she is easy to engage with and adorable. Jade's charisma, quirk, beauty, vulnerability and perseverance throughout the film make her a thoughtful heroine with a twist of comedic spunk in the end.
GERMANY / 1999 / GERMAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 84 MIN
A powerful film portraying institutionalized racism and police brutality, Otomo provides a convincing look at the everyday world of refugees, who are continuously surrounded by tension and insecurity. In the summer of 1989, a Stuttgart newspaper reported the true story of a West African asylum seeker who physically assaulted an intolerant subway ticket-taker; fled, and became the target of a city-wide manhunt. Otomo is a sober, fictionalized reconstruction of a tale that shocked Stuttgart, and a gripping portrait of how institutionalized racism drives a disempowered individual to violence and inhumanity.
West African immigrant Frederic Otomo (Isaach de Bankole) lacks the proper papers to be hired for the most menial of jobs; he has survived for eight years with the help of a Catholic charity. Otomo is the target of verbal abuse, is thrown out of his boarding house, and even scorned by neighborhood dogs. He feels and looks out of place. A stoic bubbling pot of wrath on the run, de Bankole's performance establishes Otomo's essence without words-language cannot express the gravity of his situation. As a ticking soundtrack counts down his fated minutes, Otomo is helped by a kind, aging hippie and her granddaughter, establishing the potential for an inclusive German society….if it is not too late...
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Frieder Schlaich
Starring: Isaach de Bankole
Starring: Eva Mattes
Starring: Barnaby Metschurat
DVD also includes Bonus film
Waalo Fendo: Where the Earth Freezes
WAALO FENDO: WHERE THE EARTH FREEZES
DIRECTED BYMOHAMMED SOUDANI
SENGAL AND SWITZERLAND / 1998 / WOLOF WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 65 MIN
Milan, like Paris or Stuttgart, and like many other European cities, is the theater of the drama of immigration. Demba reconstructs his story and that of his brother Yaro, both Senegalese immigrants in Italy, in a long and fragmentary flashback that begins with Yaro’s murder and recounts their departure from the village, arrival in Europe, the work they find selling lighters and picking tomatoes in the south of Italy: the stages every “non-EEC citizen” goes through in Italy. It is a story of immigration like so many others but that most people are unaware of. Waalo Fendo illustrates the dehumanization faced by so many immigrants all over the world.
CURAÇAO AND THE NETHERLANDS / 1999 / PAPAMIENTO AND DUTCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 95 MIN
Papa's song is a drama of domestic tension and cross-cultural misunderstanding. Nico Verema (Rene van Asten), a decorous, somewhat gloomy Dutch magistrate, lives happily with his wife, Shirley (Roman Vrede), who is from Curacao. Shirley's two young nephews, in the Netherlands to escape a bad situation at home, complete the household.
Its atmosphere of calm bourgeois propriety is soon upended by the arrival of the boys' mother, Magda (Lisette Merenciana). Shirley and Magda relationship is very stormy: they careen from screaming recrimination to tearful tenderness. Nico tries to mediate and soothe, but when Shirley, who cannot bear children, demands that he impregnate her sister, the good judge finds himself entangled in an intergenerational, trans-Atlantic web of family dysfunction.
"Papa's Song" touches on a number of fascinating and difficult themes, including the state of race relations in the contemporary Netherlands. A. O. Scott, NY Times.
PARIS NOIR: AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE CITY OF LIGHTS
DIRECTED BY JOANNE BURKE
U.S.A. AND FRANCE / 2017 / ENGLISH / 60 MIN
Paris Noir - African Americans in the City of Light is an exciting, enlightening documentary on the presence of African Americans in Paris from WWI to the early 1960s.
The film touches on:
- Josephine Baker, Bricktop and Sidney Bechet - Writers Langston Hughes and Claude McKay - The connections forged with top African and Caribbean writers and intellectuals Leopold Senghor, Aimé Cesaire, and the Nardal Sisters - The achievements and challenges of artists in Montparnasse - The exploitation and growing self-determination of people of color from and in France's vast overseas empire
Looking back today at their astounding achievements and the beneficial cultural exchange between France and Black America stirs up lively conversation. These jazz musicians, writers, artists, intellectuals - they launched the appreciation of Black culture worldwide.
RACE AND IMMIGRATION IN EUROPE with BORDERS andTHE GLASS CEILING
Two films connecting Africa and Europe: Borders about the life of those Africans trying to slip illegally into Europe in search of a better life and The Glass Ceiling depicting stories of some of the challenges faced by European born children of African immigrants.
The story of 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. France/Algeria, 2002, 102 min, Drama, French with English subtitles, Mostefa Djadjam, dir.
THE GLASS CEILING
Europe’s racial make-up is quickly changing. French-Algerian filmmaker Yamina Benguigui is hoping to start a conversation about affirmative action - a policy that does not exist in France today. Benguigui’s Le Plafond de Verre / The Glass Ceiling presents a series of sometimes very emotional first-hand accounts of discrimination against mostly black and North African Arab who are trying to find jobs. The documentary offers poignant and revealing accounts of discrimination faced by these full-fledged French citizens who are also children of immigrant parents. France, 2004, 90 min, documentary, French with English subtitles, Yamina Benguigui, dir.
FRANCE and MOROCCO / 2018 / FRENCH, ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 95 MIN
Growing up in the Moroccan village of Tazzeka, Elias learned the secrets of traditional Moroccan cuisine from his grandmother who raised him. Years later, meeting a top Paris chef and a young woman named Salma inspires him to leave home.
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.”
Directed by Roland Vranik | Hungary | 2016 | Drama | 109 min
In his late fifties Wilson, whose family was killed during an outbreak of civil war in Guinea-Bissau, enters Europe as a political refugee and settles for a sedate life as a security guard in a Budapest shopping center. Wilson's main desire is to acquire Hungarian citizenship. The story follows Wilson as he attempts to find his place in Hungarian society in his daily life, at work, with Mari, a history teacher who helps him study for the citizenship and Shirin, a young Iranian woman whose only hope to avoid deportation is to marry a Hungarian citizen. The Citizen is an Award-winning drama that poignantly dwells on some of the most complex issues of contemporary modern European society.BBC
FRANCE / 2004 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 90 MIN
Europe's racial make-up is quickly changing. French-Algerian filmmaker Yamina Benguigui is hoping to start a conversation about affirmative action - a policy that does not exist in France today. Benguigui's Le Plafond de Verre (Glass Ceiling) presents a series of sometimes very emotional first-hand accounts of discrimination against mostly black and North African Arab who are trying to find jobs. The documentary offers poignant and revealing accounts of discrimination faced by these full-fledged French citizens who are also children of immigrant parents.
"Now that I am out there looking for work, I cannot forget that I am not French like other French people." — Nesrine Yahia
"Politicians in France are mostly horrified to even think about such policies ( implementing an American-style affirmative action program with quotas) because they go against what are called the values of the republic. I think that unless there is pressure from the ground up, politics in France will never change." — Yamina Benguigui
Femi, a British boy of Nigerian descent who, after a happy childhood in rural Lincolnshire with his white fostermother, moves to inner London to live with his Nigerian mum.
Struggling with the unfamiliar culture and values of his new environment, teenage Femi has to figure out which path to adulthood he wants to take, and what it means to be a young black man in London.
Going back home to Nigeria with his mum to find his Nigerian roots will help adolescent Femi find grounding and hope for a better future.
Directed by Shola Amoo, 2019, UK, 98 min, drama, English.
" Thoughtfully alternates universal adolescent insecurities with urgently specific minority politics - filtered through a first-person perspective that itself oscillates between furious clarity and vivid confusion." ~Variety
* WORLD DRAMATIC COMPETITION - SUNDANCE 2019
* WINNER - British Independent Film Awards 2019 - Best Supporting Actress: Ruthxjiah Bellenea - Most Promising Newcomer: Sam Adewunmi
The Naked Poet is a smart, heartfelt drama about infidelity and sexual desire.
Directed and produced by talented independent British filmmaker Jason Barrett - who also stars in the film - The Naked Poet is the story of Lazarus, a young poet exploring the difficulties associated with matters of the heart. He finds himself caught up in a love triangle and confronting the painful and confusing decision of choosing between his long-term girlfriend Louise and newfound love Simone while dealing with his responsibilities as a father to his only child from a past relationship.
Release in the UK in late 2016, The Naked Poet is a comedy-drama with a predominantly Black cast - including UK gone Hollywood actor Aml Ameen (The Maze Runner, Sense8) - which offers a complex, multidimensional portray of life, love and friendship within the young, middle class Black British community.
Lovers Rock, often dubbed 'romantic reggae' is a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Lovers Rock allowed young people to experience intimacy and healing through dance- known as 'scrubbing'- at parties and clubs. This dance provided a coping mechanism for what was happening on the streets. Lovers Rock developed into a successful sound with national UK hits and was influential to British bands (Police, Culture Club, UB40) These influences underline the impact the music was making in bridging the multi-cultural gap that polarized the times. The film sheds light on a forgotten period of British music, social and political history.
Time and Judgement is an overview of the African Liberation Movement that spans a period of 400 hundred years. The film narrates the tribulations and successes of people of African descent in and out of Africa with a special focus on the struggles of the last century. Through extensive footage of the movement in the Caribbean, Africa, America and Europe, the viewer is exposed to the critical political analysis of leaders such as: Maurice Bishop of Grenada, Walter Rodney of Guyana, Jessie Jackson, Kwame Ture (Stokley Carmichael) and Louis Farrakhan of the USA, Samora Machel of Mozambique, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey of Jamaica, and more.
Through the creative use of various art forms including theater, poetry, songs and art, Time and Judgement establishes a connection between a biblical prophecy with the times we are living in, leading toward the final confrontation between the heart and money - the heart symbolizing love and life, and money symbolizing greed and lust for power.