BURKINA FASO / 2003 / DJULA AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 90 MIN
A comedy set in contemporary Burkina Faso, Tasuma tells the story of a World War II veteran who has been trying for more than 50 years to obtain his well-deserved military pension. Convinced that he will be paid shortly, Sogo buys a mill on credit for the village. But the money does not arrive. When Sogo is put in prison because he cannot reimburse his loan, the women of the village rally to set him free.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Daniel Kollo Sanou
Starring: Ali Keita
Starring: Mamadou Zerbo
Starring: Noufou Ouédraogo
DVD entitled GREAT AFRICAN FILMS - VOL 2- also includes feature film Sia, the Dream of the Python
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.
CAMEROON / 2011 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 85 MIN
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 Banana outlines 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. As a result, The Big Banana not only exposes multinational corporations culpability in the land grab of Africa but also makes us reconsider where we get our fruit from.
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.”
MAURITIUS / 2006 / CREOLE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 78 MIN
The Cathedral is a lyrical narration set in the beautiful and unusual setting of Port-Louis, capital of Mauritius. Lina, a young woman in search of her identity interacts daily with friends and family in a carefree happy manner that will be challenged when one day her dancing catches the eye of a photographer... The Cathedrale is based on a sort story by his wife Ananda Devi.
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
ALGERIA / 1997 / ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 90 MIN
Romeo and Juliet in the Algerian desert. Amin and Myriam are secretly in love. Their families are rivals and when their relationship is discovered, conflict is inevitable. In the quiet atmosphere of the palm groves, the two communities have long nurtured the seeds of discord and hatred. The persecution is the first signal of inevitable evil. From inside the cave where they have taken refuge, the two young people hear the cries of a senseless murderous raid. A universal metaphor to denounce the horror of all extremist violence, The Desert Ark is a splendid and terrifying metaphor for a burning contemporary reality.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Mohamed Chouikh
Starring: Hacen Abdou
Starring: Messaouda Adami
Starring: Shyraz Aliane
Part of 2 DVD set Great African Films Vol 3 with Daratt (Dry Season)
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.
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.
Forty 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 "Going" 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.
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
USA / 2017 / ENGLISH AND SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 47 MIN
This latest documentary by the Dean of Afro-Cuban Cinema Sergio Giral investigates the black Cuban exile community in South Florida, since the first wave of political refugees in the 1959 revolutionary aftermath, to today. It tracks its presence throughout the region, and highlights its contribution to Miami's civic culture through testimonies and visual documentation.
Brother Howie is a Jamaican Rastifari who dreams of the land of his ancestors: Africa. On a journey in search of his roots and his identity he travels through three continents and - with great humor and sensitivity - discovers the world...and Africa.
DIRECTOR AND CAST
Director: Fritz Baumann
DVD sale: $295 Part of "Jamaican Music & Soul" 2 DVD set with "Made in Jamaica"
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
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
CONGO AND BELGIUM / 2015 / FRENCH, ENGLISH, SWAHILI AND MASHI WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 113 MIN
Portrait of the impressive life and work of internationally renowned gynecologist Dr. Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He received the 2014 prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for his struggle against sexual violence. Mukwege medically assisted over 40,000 sexually abused women in sixteen years of professional practice.
Sexual violence against women has been used as a weapon of war for years in the violence-ridden and poverty-stricken Democratic Republic of Congo. In order to provide medical, psychological and emotional aid to the victims, Dr. Mukwege founded the Panzi hospital in Bukavu in 1999. Besides his work as a physician Dr. Mukwege also defends human rights and seeks to raise global awareness on the issue of sexual violence in his country. He condemns the political reluctance to tackle the problem and is not afraid to hit the nail on the head.
His work is not without danger, as Dr. Mukwege experienced in 2012, when armed men entered his home and started shooting. Mukwege and his family survived the attack, but his guard was killed. The doctor now lives cloistered in his hospital in Bukavu under the protection of the United Nation peacekeepers. The women, whose physical and emotional integrity and dignity have been restored, stand beside him, true activists for peace, and hungry for justice.
The Man Who Mends Women - The Wrath of Hippocrates was awarded on the 8th of February 2016 the Best Documentary Magritte given once a year by the Académie André Delvaux to the Best Feature Length Belgium Francophone Documentary of the year.
It also received on January 29, 2016 the HUMANUM AWARD by the Belgium Film Critic Union (Union de la Presse Cinématographique Belge - UPCB) for its advocacy in favor of harmonious living among different peoples.
Other awards include: * Best Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2016 Pan African Film Festival, in Los Angeles (USA); * Special Mention at the Festival Internacional De Cine Documental De La Ciudad de Mexico 2015 (Mexico); * The Public Award at the Algiers International Film Festival 2015 (Algeria); * The Golden Butterfly - A Matter of Act award at the Movies That Matter Festival 2015 (The Netherlands)
The film has received so far 5 Human Rights Awards, 3 Audience Awards, and 4 Grand Prizes for Best Documentary in festivals worldwide!
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.
ALGERIA AND FRANCE / 2001 / ARABIC ND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 90 MIN
Yasmine and Rachid, two young Parisians children of Algerian immigrants, are in love and live a quiet life in France. One day, Rachid disappears and Yasmine learns that he is in Algeria. She decides to follow him, in that country that she does not know, that is filled with violence. As she travels looking for Rachid, she falls deeper into the horror of a country where nothing seems normal, another world, where death is ever present. She learns that Rachid was in a military convoy that was attacked by terrorists. Only two soldiers in the convoy survived. She can't believe Rachid is not one of them...
SENEGAL, FRANCE AND GERMANY / 2012 / WOLOF AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 87 MIN
In Moussa Toure’s powerful epic fiction film, a group of 30 men sail to Europe in a pirogue, facing the sea - and the possibility of never reaching their destination - in exchange for the myth of a better life in Europe.
Baye Laye is the captain of a fishing pirogue. Like many of his Senegalese compatriots, he sometimes dreams of new horizons, where he can earn a better living for his family. When he is offered to lead one of the many pirogues that head towards Europe via the Canary Island, he reluctantly accepts the job, knowing full-well the dangers that lie ahead. Leading a group of 30 men who don't all speak the same language, some of whom have never seen the sea, Baye Laye will confront many perils in order to reach the distant coasts of Europe.
"Senegal, a West African nation on the Atlantic Ocean, was home to Africa’s greatest movie-maker, Ousmane Sembene. Today, Moussa Toure follows in the master’s footsteps with this drama of 30 men (and one woman, a stowaway) who set out on an illegal 7-day voyage to Spain - making the perilous trip in a pirogue - a boat resembling a vastly oversized dinghy. While sharing a common desire to build a better future, these men hail from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. The story grows from a finely delineated mosaic of personalities - reactions to the journey’s mounting danger - that span the emotional panoply of human experience. Toure’s compelling tale says as much about the universal nature of courage and perfidy as it does about the economic realities faced by so many of the world’s people. THE PIROGUE was featured in Cannes 2012, in the Un Certain Regard section." ~ Film Forum.
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.
SENEGAL AND BELGIUM / 2008 / WOLOF AND FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 48 MIN
In a voice-over, we hear the thoughts of Amy, a girl from a rural area of Senegal who works as a domestic for a well-to-do family in Dakar. She complains about her employer, who continuously criticizes her and gets on her case, and she talks about her dream of one day opening her own eatery. Meanwhile, we see her sweep the pavement, prepare the food and clean the house. The contrast with her vast and barren native region is enormous. In Dakar, some 150,000 young women work as housekeepers for families whose daughters can go to school. "Why does the emancipation of some result in the servitude of others?" Amy wonders. The filmmakers interview other young maids who dream of going to school, and they film a woman who shouts her furious lyrics straight into the camera in rapper-like fashion: "I keep your houses squeaky clean, but you all think I'm dirty!" In a dramatized scene in a slum, the women demonstrate how they'd like to deal with a woman who doesn't pay her housekeeper enough. In response to the situation, the filmmakers make an appeal to change the rules of the world economy.
Confronted with a series of racially charged incidents, a young black man must overcome rage, alienation, and hopelessness in order to find his own humanity.
The young black man, simply identified as “Man,” must resolve the personal meaning of his blackness when his white boss orders him to commit fraud to benefit the corporation. Struggling with an overwhelming sense of shame for going through with the illegal demand, Man seeks consolation by discussing his unease with a black former friend and his white fiancé. Those conversations lead only to further confusion and frustrations...
Following on the footstep of the LA Rebellion filmmakers, Skinner Myers tells a very personal and intimate Black story in a radically non-traditional cinematic style as a means to express freely his feelings as a Black man in America.
By Skinner Myers, USA, 2021, 72min, Drama, English
"A superb character study of a black man, how he sees himself and how he was treated by society, it is surreal yet real and terrifying." ~ Ulkar Alakbarova, moviemovesme.com
"Remaining asleep to Myers as an African-American is a sin, but so is to be completely awake to the point where love for the self is all but embraced. In this impassioned, vigorous, lucid cinematic journey, the bleak, bruised-yet-fighting spirit of one Kendrick Lamar’s and every other prominent African artist strikes like lightning, and resonates like thunder. Like the greats, Myers, is a voice in his lane to place one’s focus on; his artistry effortlessly commanding, a feat implying many more to be accomplished in a budding career in American independent filmmaking." ~ LOUIE BAHAROM, cinephiliaph.wordpress.com
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.
AUSTRALIA / 2002 / MAORI AND ENGLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 98 MIN
RESTAURED HD VERSION AVAILABLE
The year is 1922 and The Tracker (David Gulpilil, Walkabout, Rabbit-Proof Fence) has the job of pursuing The Fugitive - an aborigine who is suspected of murdering a white woman - as he leads three mounted policemen: The Fanatic, The Follower and also The Veteran across the outback.
The Tracker, a mysterious and enigmatic figure whose true character remains unknown, assists them in their quest. As they move deeper into the bush and further away from civilization, the toxic forces of paranoia and violence begin to escalate, stirring up questions of what is black and what is white and who is leading whom. Their journey becomes an acrimonious and murderous trek that shifts power from one man to another, challenged by the indigenous people they come across as well as each other.