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 / 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
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
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.
RASTAS & MAROONS is a 2-DVD set featuringThe First Rasta (Jamaica/France) a revealing documentary about Leonard Percival Howell, the man who created the Rasta Movement and Aluku Liba, Maroon Again (French Guiana/Canada), a rare docu-drama about the Aluku or Boni, a Maroon ethnic group living mainly on the riverbank in Maripasoula, southwest French Guiana.
THE FIRST RASTA Thirty years after Bob Marley's death, it is time to pay tribute to Leonard Percival Howell,The First Rasta. At the beginning of the last century, the young Leonard Percival Howell (1893- 1981) left Jamaica, became a sailor and traveled the world. On his way, he chanced upon all the ideas that stirred his time. From Bolshevism to New Thought, from Gandhi to Anarchism, from Garveyism to psychoanalysis, he sought to find his promised land. With this cocktail of ideas Leonard "Gong" Howell returned to Jamaica and founded Pinnacle, the first Rasta community.
Going far beyond the standard imagery of Rasta - ganja, reggae, and dreadlocks -this cultural history offers an uncensored vision of a movement with complex roots and the exceptional journey of a man who taught an enslaved people how to be proud and impose their culture on the world. In the 1920s, Leonard Percival Howell and the First Rastas had a revelation concerning the divinity of Haile Selassie, king of Ethiopia, that established the vision for the most popular mystical movement of the 20th century, Rastafarianism. Although jailed, ridiculed, and treated as insane, Howell, also known as the Gong, established a Rasta community of 4,500 members, the first agro-industrial enterprise devoted to producing marijuana. In the late 1950s the community was dispersed, disseminating Rasta teachings throughout the ghettos of the island. A young singer named Bob Marley adopted Howell's message, and through Marley's visions, reggae made its explosion in the music world.
Directed by Helene Lee, 2011, 90 min, France/Jamaica, Doc, English
ALUKU LIBA, MAROON AGAIN
Maroons are free Africans who escaped slavery in the Caribbean, Central, South and North America, and formed independent settlements.
Aluku Liba: Maroon Again is a rare docu-drama about the Aluku or Boni, a Maroon ethnic group living mainly on the riverbank in Maripasoula, southwest French Guiana.
The film follows Loeti who has spent years away from his village in French Guiana, working in extreme conditions. When the army cracks down on illegal gold mining in the Amazon forest, he is forced to flee and must use the skills he learned as a child to survive in the forest. His only hope is to find his way home to his people and reclaim his Maroon past and culture.
Directed by Nicolas Jolliet, 2009, 90 min, Canada/French Guiana/Suriname, Docu-Drama
SENEGAL, SWITZERLAND AND FRANCE / 2006 / ENGLISH AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 108 MIN
A musical road movie,Return to Goréefollows Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour's historical journey tracing the trail left by enslaved Africans and the jazz music they created. Youssou N'Dour's challenge is to bring back to Africa a jazz repertoire of his own songs to perform a concert in Gorée, the island that today symbolizes the slave trade and stands to honor its victims.
From Atlanta to New Orleans, from New York to Bordeaux and Luxembourg, the songs are transformed, immersed in jazz and gospel. Transcending cultural divisions and rehearsing with of some of the world's most exceptional musicians, Youssou N'Dour is preparing to return to Africa for the final concert...
PERU / 2015 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 75 MIN
Critically acclaimed Rosa Chumbe is a rare film from Peru where the multiculturalism and multiracialism of Peruvien society is present everywhere.
Rosa is a mature police officer with both a gambling and a drinking problem. She lives with her daughter Sheila, who has a little baby. One day, after a big fight between them, Sheila steals her mother's savings and storms out of the house leaving her baby behind. Rosa is forced to spend some time with her grandson. Something changes inside her heart of stone. However, everything takes a wrong turn one night. Only a miracle can save her.
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.
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.
EGYPT / 2009 / ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 135 MIN
SCHEHERAZADE: TELL ME A STORY is a tale ripped from today’s headlines and yet a clever reference to the myths and lore of the Middle East. When her husband (Hassan Saeed) asks her to tone down the subversive political rhetoric on her program, Egyptian talk show host Hebba (Mona Zaki) draws even more heat by beginning a series that explores the experience of women in contemporary Egypt. As three women speak out about the mistreatment they've suffered in a deeply patriarchal society, Hoda must contend with her own disintegrating marriage.
"Lively, swift, vibrantly colorful and for the most part wonderfully acted, the film is slyly aware of the daytime talk show as a vehicle for women's concerns." ~ The New York Times
EGYPT / 2009 / ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 135 MIN
SCHEHERAZADE: TELL ME A STORY is a tale ripped from today’s headlines and yet a clever reference to the myths and lore of the Middle East.Â Â When her husband (Hassan Saeed) asks her to tone down the subversive political rhetoric on her program, Egyptian talk show host Hebba (Mona Zaki) draws even more heat by beginning a series that explores the experience of women in contemporary Egypt. As three women speak out about the mistreatment they've suffered in a deeply patriarchal society, Hoda must contend with her own disintegrating marriage. Yousry Nasrallah directs this drama.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Yousry Nasrallah
Starring: Mona Zaki
Starring: Rehab El Gamal
Starring: Hassan El Raddad
Also features Fallen Angels Paradise
FALLEN ANGELS PARADISE (GANNAT AL SHAYATEEN)
DIRECTED BY OUSSAMA FAWZI
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.
A housemaid, who is sexually abused by her boss and made pregnant, is forced to give up her son in order to go on with her education.
Six years later she comes back to claim her son. From Malawi comes this moving story about sexual abuse, women rights and the legal justice system in Malawi.
This film tackles universal themes in an African setting giving an understanding of some of the modernization and democratization processes in Africa.
Flora Suya stars as the lead character, Sungisa Malango, a maid turned lawyer who fights for custody of her child.
"This is not exactly a film I would have sought out but since it was made in Malawi by a Malawian director, I decided to watch it and am damned glad I did. This is a film that will tell you far more about the ascending middle class in Africa than any Thomas Friedman column plus it is a well-written and well-acted old fashioned tale of the sort that might have starred Bette Davis. Strongly recommended." - Film critic Louis Proyect
NIGERIA AND THE NETHERLANDS / 2014 / ENGLISH / 85 MIN
A reflection of the difficult social conditions of women in many societies in different parts of the world, SEXY MONEY explores 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.
SEXY MONEY presents a subtle indictment of the social reality of poor women in contemporary Nigeria. In recent years, a growing number of Nigerian women, among other West African women, have settled in the suburbs of major cities in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe. The women go there in order to escape poverty. But for most of them, the European adventure is a disappointment that ends when they fly back to their native countries empty-handed.
The film listens to these women talk about their European adventure and follows the development of two women in particular who, after returning to Nigeria, try to build a new life. There are countless obstacles. The film exposes the challenges these women face while celebrating their resilience.
Music, as a source of pleasure and beauty plays an important role in the lives of these women and also in the film, with songs especially composed for it by Nneka, one of Nigeria’s best.
Didi Cheeka works as a director and film critic and has been working for years to reappraise the Nigerian film heritage. He initiated the archive project “Reclaiming History, Unveiling Memory” with the aim of restoring, digitizing and curating rediscovered Nigerian films.
SHAIHU UMAR is one of the most important works in Nigerian film history, but was long considered lost. Located in northern Nigeria at the end of the 19th century, the film is based on a novel by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, who later became Nigeria’s first prime minister. Only the rediscovery of the camera negative in 2016 made the reconstruction of the film possible. The digitally restored version had its premiere at the Berlinale in February 2018.
Set in northern Nigeria towards the end of the 19th century,Shaihu Umarstarts with a discussion between Islamic students and their renowned teacher, the wise man Shaihu Umar. Asked about his origins, Umar begins to tell his story: he comes from a modest background and is separated from his mother after his father dies and his stepfather is banished. His subsequent trials and tribulations are marked by slavery, and he is put to any number of tests until he finally becomes the adopted son of his Arabic master Abdulkarim. He attends Koran School and is made an imam upon reaching adulthood. Following a particular dream, he resolves to search for his mother.
Adamu Halilu filmedShaihu Umarin Hausa in 1976. Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art restored the film with the support of the German Embassy in Abuja.
Adamu Halilu, based on the novel of the same title by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa
Director of Photography
Yusuf Mohammed, Zakari Yusufu
Umaru Ladan, Umaru Dembo
Born in the state of Adamawa, Nigeria in 1936. He studied screenwriting and editing in London. Along with his work as a feature film director, Adamu Halilu also wrote screenplays and took part in the production of almost 70 documentary films. Adamu Halilu died in 2001.
1963Mama Learns a Lesson; 48 min.1971Child Bride; 70 min.1976Shaihu Umar1978Kanta of Kebbi1981Moment of Truth; 90 min.1982Zainab
Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018
Federal Ministry of Information (Federal Film Unit Kaduna)
Ghofrane, 25, is a young Black Tunisian woman. A committed activist who speaks her mind, she embodies Tunisia's current political upheaval. As a victim of racial discrimination, Ghofrane decides to go into politics.
We follow her extraordinary path, ranging from acting on her ambition to be in politics to disillusion. Through her attempts to persuade both close friends and complete strangers to vote for her, her campaign reveals the many faces of a country seeking to forge a new identity.
In its own unique way, this documentary sheds light on the place of women and Black people in Tunisia's changing society.
Directed by Raja Amari, Tunisia, 2020, 90min, documentary, Arabic and French w/English subtitles
* IDFA 2020 - World Premiere
"Binous' determination to be an agent of change lends the film an engaging, upbeat energy that enhances its appeal..." ~ Screen International
"Effortlessly balancing the personal and the political - and the invisible line between them - the filmmaker offers a glimpse into the future of a better Tunisia through Binous's unique odyssey." ~ Film Inquiry
"As a Black woman from a working-class neighborhood in Tunisia, 25-year-old Ghofrane Binous has spent her whole life dealing with class inequality, racism, and sex discrimination. Following an extremely racist incident in 2018 while working as a flight attendant, she posted a cry for help on social media that was widely viewed, then joined a women’s movement and became politically active. The film follows this charismatic figure in the run-up to the 2019 national elections—during the turbulent campaign period, on the way to countless meetings, and in heated conversations with family members, friends, and party members.
The camera stays close to this young woman who is keen to perpetuate the myth of her own invulnerability—and maybe that’s exactly what she needs to do to rise to the top. The backdrop to her political ambition is a divided society where people have little confidence in their own democracy. Connecting it all is the voice-over in which Binous shares her vision of life, and her motivations for becoming politically active in a paternalistic, segregated society where women generally draw the shortest straw." IDFA
BURKINA FASO / 2001 / BAMBARA WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 96 MIN
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 honour, corruption and power.
EGYPT / 2016 / ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 125 MIN
From one of Egypt's most controversial and taboo-breaking filmmakers comes a drama of betrayal, passion and political upheaval. A year after the events that kicked off the Arab Spring, millions of Egyptians gathered to demand the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. The January protests lasted 18 days and saw numerous attempts by the government to silence dissent using censorship and violence. In his latest film, director Khaled El Hagar establishes a parallel narrative, in which an erotic and symbolic struggle for freedom plays out on a farm while the urban revolt serves as a backdrop.
Confined to a marriage of convenience, Fatma (Nahed El Sebai) is torn between tradition and a drive to rebel against her oppressive circumstances. Her desire for renewal is ignited when an escaped convict turns up seeking shelter. The affair is extremely transgressive, especially given the rigorous religious standards that underpin Egyptian society. Much like the undemocratic political establishment, the farm's master governs with terrifying impunity. The film caused a firestorm of media debate over freedom of expression in its home country. Ironically, even under the newer government, the film was censored and subjected to numerous edits before Egyptians could view it. It's a scathing critique of the establishment, building to an unflinching ending that questions where the revolution is headed and what it has accomplished. (VIFF)
"Outstanding both as neo-film noir and as penetrating examination of class relations in Egypt that help explain the continuation of capitalist oligarchic rule." ~ Louis Project
COLOMBIA AND FRANCE/ 2003 / SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
An entertaining documentary that explores the African culture of Colombia through music. The film presents the music of the Sons of Benkos, one of the most important Black leaders in the fight for freedom during the times of slavery in Colombia. The film also shows the evolution of Afro-Colombian music over time through the fusion of Cuban and contemporary African rhythms with traditional Afro-Colombian music.
TUNISIA / 1999 / ENGLISH AND ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 52 MIN
In Tunisia, the history of stambali goes back to the arrival of the first Africans taken as slaves from Mali, Timbuktu specifically. Practicing their music and worship in the house of their masters, the enslaved and their musical traditions survive to this day.
Stambali is a religious ritual in Tunisia, a journey with the rhythm of the "gombri" and "chkackek," traces an individual and collective hypnosis, an annual tribute that the disciples of Sidi Saad pay to their master during an initiatory journey and rite of purification that lasts three days.
In "Stambali," the camera, video and film follow the rhythm of the possession, dances, and goes into a trance, in the cemetery, in an open space of grass, trees, dust and sand, in the eroticism that is released by this physical and spiritual representation.
Life of women after military service is seldom portrayed in films. The drama Stand Down Soldier tells the story of Sergeant Stacy Armstrong who returns home from three deployments suffering with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Soon after her return, she and her husband realize their 20-year marriage is about to be another casualty of war. Infidelity, addiction, and a tragic accident test the couple’s commitment.
This fiction film explores some of the issues many returning soldiers confront in their civil life including mental health issues, loneliness, and drug addiction.
Writer, director, producer, and lead actress in STAND DOWN SOLDIER, Jeryl is an actress best known for her portrayal of Jacqui in The Walking Dead.
She started writing the award-winning script for "Stand Down Soldier" after conversations with female family members and friends from her home state of SC who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“It was both revelatory and refreshing to see that a film about a soldier’s return home from active duty in Iraq is focused on a woman.” ~ Highbrow Magazine Read Full Review HERE
“Stand Down Soldier is a poignant film about an African-American female soldier back to civilian life after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. This film took me by surprise, and I really enjoyed it.” ~ Film Monthly.
STORIES OF POST-COLONIALISMis a double DVD that is a source of information, reflection, retrospective and critical thinking regarding the presence of foreign powers on the continent and what that entails for the general population as very well illustrated inTHE BIG BANANA. In the nation building process, governments have to face a multiplicity of tasks to build the countries' economic, educational, health, and justice systems, to name a few.CELL 512illustrates the challenges of building a democratic society in a new nation.
THE BIG BANANA
Banned in Cameroon,The Big Banana illustrates the poor working conditions in banana plantations and exposes the adverse impact on the people of a corporatocracy government that affords super profits for corporations at the expense of the local population.
The Big Bananaoutlines land grabbing tactics by company Plantation du Haut Penja (PHP) and the ensuing devastation for communities: poverty, pollution, and sickness from pesticides. Bieleu, who spent two years filming residents in the remote countryside of Cameroon also features local cooperatives resisting the devastation through business alliances with fair trade organizations.
By Franck Bieleu, Cameroon, 2011, 85min, Documentary in French with English subtitles.
A spoiled young man makes a bet with his friends: riding a motorbike at a brisk pace without brakes or lights for a week, without being worried. He will be hit by Honorine, a woman driving her car. She will end up in jail. Should corruption, rape and denial of justice be the lot of those without financial means to defend themselves?
By Missa Hebie, 2015, Burkina Faso, Drama, 99 min, French w/ English subtitles.
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.
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.