CANADA & NIGERIA/ 2019/ ROMANTIC COMEDY/ ENGLISH/ 115 MIN
2 Weeks in Lagos is a turbulent and thrilling journey into the lives of Ejikeme and Lola. Their lives collide when Ejikeme an investment banker comes home from the United States with Lola’s brother Charlie to invest in Nigerian businesses. 2 Weeks in Lagos captures the excitement, vibrancy, and complexity of everyday life in Lagos, a dynamic city where anything is possible in 2 Weeks.
“Nigerian filmmaker Kathryn Fasegha’s sophomore feature is one of those great surprises that remind us why we love movies. Through the simple premise of two families coming to terms to decide their future and legacy, focusing on the romantic bridge between the youngsters, the director conceives a heart-warming, enchanted, funny and perceptive look at family values, faith, integrity, pure love and capital interests.” ~ Brazilian Press
“2 Weeks in Lagos paints a dynamic and vigorous canvas of the city and its vibrancy. Efficiently performed by a stellar cast, well written with accurate humor and unexpected twists, it’s an accomplished, sensitive and timely romantic comedy.” ~ Brazilian Press
DIRECTED BY MEHDI BARSAOUI TUNISIA/ 2019/ DRAMA/ ARABIC WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES/ 96 MIN
An intense family drama starring French-Tunisian actor Sami Bouajila, winner of the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor, Venice Film Festival 2019. 11 year old Aziz needs a liver transplant after being seriously injured during a terrorist ambush while on holiday in 2011. At the hospital, a family secret will be revealed.
A drama that expertly captures complex human emotions within their socio-cultural, historical and political context. ~ Hollywood Reporter
Not many debuting directors are able to bring subtlety and depth to a heart-rending subject, which is just one reason why Mehdi M. Barsaoui's superb "A Son" deserves significant attention. ~ Variety
It's a film reminiscent of the work of Iranian master Asghar Farhadi [A Separation, The Salesman], full of twists and turns as it puts its characters in increasingly tragic situations. ~ Cineuropa
César Awards, France (2021) Best Actor: Sami Bouajila
Victoria Film Festival, Canada (2020) Best Feature: Mehdi Barsaoui
Malmö Arab Film Festival (2020) Best Actress: Najla Ben Abdallah
Kosmorama, Trondheim Internasjonale Film Festival (2020) New Director's Award: Mehdi Barsaoui
Venice Film Festival (2019) Best Actor: Sami Bouajila
Cairo International Film Festival(2019) Arab Cinema's Horizons Award: Mehdi Barsaoui Salah Abu Seif Prize: Mehdi Barsaoui UNFPA Award: Mehdi Barsaoui
Hainan International Film Festival (2019) Young Talent Award Winner: Best Feature Film
Set in an unnamed African country, A Taste of Our Land is a film about greed told against the backdrop of the current Chinese influence in African countries. While trying to provide for his pregnant wife, Yohani, an older African man, retrieves a gold nugget in a Chinese-run mine built on his land and runs away to sell it for $100. When he learns its real value, he becomes as obsessed with it as Cheng, the Chinese mine supervisor who will stop at nothing to get it back.
Winner, Best First Feature Film, 2020 Africa Movie Academy Awards; Winner, Best First Feature Narrative, 2020 Pan African Film Festival.
Directed by Yuhi Amuli, Rwanda, 2020, 84min, drama, English.
Angelica, after a long absence from Puerto Rico, returns home when her father, Wilfredo, suffers a stroke. This unexpected return and her father's illness force Angelica to re-evaluate her relationship with her mother and family members who don't accept her because of her skin color. She must face herself and discovers that she does not know who she is. After her father's death, Angelica must decide whether to return to the comfort of her previous life, dissatisfied, but secure, or set on an adventurous path to rediscover herself as an independent, modern, strong, black, and Puerto Rican woman.
Directed by Marisol Gómez-Mouakad, Puerto Rico, 2016, 100min, Drama, English & Spanish w/English subtitles
"Purposely challenging the Eurocentric beauty standards that blatantly plague Latin America on and off screen, Puerto Rican director Marisol Gómez-Mouakad sets out to tell the story of an empowered Afro-Latina fighting colorism at home in her debut feature Angélica." ~ Remezcla
“People talk about racism and sexism in the U.S.,” Gómez-Mouakad explains. “They may not do much, but in talking about it they are at least addressing the problem. In Puerto Rico — and across the Caribbean and Latin America — there is a lot of denial. If you do talk about the issues, you are accused of being over sensitive. But words have power and words can hurt.” ~ director Marisol Gómez-Mouakad
"In addition to the theme of racism, the film touches upon the implications of machismo in a patriarchal society from the perspective of women." ~ Repeating Islands
"Another glorious, glorious portrait on race and the roles women play—by pressure, by tradition, by choice. " ~ Guilie Castillo Oriard
Oscar-nominated South African director, Angus Gibson, takes us back to the glitz and menace of Sophiatown in his stylish new film, Back Of The Moon. Starring Richard Lukunku and Moneoa Moshesh.
28 July 1958. Badman, an intellectual and the leader of the most powerful gang in Sophiatown, lives life on his own terms in this crazy, cosmopolitan, half demolished ghetto on the edge of Johannesburg. The gorgeous Eve Msomi, a torch-singer on the brink of an international career, is giving her last concert in the local hall before she travels to London. Tomorrow, legions of Apartheid policewill force the residents of Gerty street out of their homes and they will be trucked to a desolate township, ten miles out of the city.
Refusing to face the bleak reality of black South African life, Badman has decided that he will fight to the death for his home. But fate, thrusts Eve Msomi, whom he has loved from a distance, into his orbit. And on this night that bears this beautiful encounter, Badman’s gang, The Vipers, sensing his vulnerability, turns on them both.
Directed by Angus Gibson, South Africa, 2019, 95min, Drama, Zulu w/English subtitles
“Eve is kind of a character that was based on Miriam Makeba on the eve that she leaves for London. So you have this great talent that you know is being driven out of this country and then Badman, played by Richard Lukunku, is an intellectual, he should have been a leader in the community and in order to hold his head up high, he has become a gangster. So both of these pretty fabulous characters are lost to South Africa. That is something that I find sad.” ~ Director August Wilson
Kafe Negro tells the story of migrations around a small grain that became 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, profoundly transformed the culture and demography of Cuba and developed coffee growing on the island.
Directed by Mario Delatour | Cuba & Haiti | 52min |2020 | Documentary | French and Spanish with English subtitles
The award-winning drama Kuessipan by Myriam Verreault was adapted from the acclaimed novel Kuessipanand co-written with the novel’s First Nation Canadian author Naomi Fontaine. Kuessipan means "your turn" in the Innu language, a title chosen to mark the notion that it is the Innu people's turn to tell their story.
“The Innu voice is ever present, which is so important as it offers a glimpse into their lives without a Colonial perspective. It's a feature that, while seemingly an obvious advantage, is hardly ever utilized for similar films. It means that audiences can enter the world in a respectful manner - which isn't to say the film shies away from the issues, but it does mean that those issues are approached in a confident and dignified way” writes Joel Kalkopf in his review for Switch.
The story follows two girls who grow up as best friends in a Quebec Innu community. While Mikuan has a loving family, Shaniss is picking up the pieces of her shattered childhood. As children, they promised each other to be lifelong friends. But as they mature, their lives take different paths, and their personal ambitions diverge leading them to a cultural and identity clash that tests their bond.
Directed by Myriam Verreault, Canada, 2019, 117min, Drama, Montagnais, French, English w/English subtitles
"Kuessipan is quiet and mesmerizing and tragic and full of hope. It is a triumph, and a privilege to spend time with." ~ Globe and Mail
"Myriam Verreault excels at crafting a film told through an Indigenous lens that discusses universal themes of friendship, identity, love, and heartbreak." ~ Exclaim!
"Kuessipan is a beautiful, un-sensationalized look at young womanhood, friendship and community." ~ NOW Toronto
"Heartbreakingly exploring Indigenous identity and the bonds that root us to a community, Kuessipan is a bold ode to young womanhood." ~ MUBI
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
Fatem, sixth month pregnant, leaves her village perched in the mountains, to fill a frame with empty glasses for the elder of her village, the only person who can decipher the letters sent by members of the villagers’ families who have gone to work in the cities. She moves from station to station to arrive in town in the middle of a protest. This will turn her trip into a peaceful revolution that she is hardly aware of.
Directed by Sanaa Akroud, Morocco 2020, 86min, drama, Arabic w/English subtitles
"A beautifully observed meditation on faith, perseverance and integrity, Moroccan director Sanae Akroud’s sophomore feature is an immersive and heart-breaking unique female saga. " ~ The Brazilian
"This film, which carries beautiful qualities of image and lighting, speaks of poverty, of the feminine condition and of a happiness so simple that one can hardly grasp its meaning nowadays. ~ La Presse
"Fatem is played by Sanaa Akroud, also the film's director. Akroud was in the acclaimed 2011 Egyptian film "Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story". In "Myopia" she is brilliant as our unsettlingly passive villager, whether inquiring about a letter from an absent husband or when wandering innocently through the city in search of an eyeglass shop." ~ Barbara Nimri Aziz
"She will be questioned by the police, defended by an association, interviewed by a journalist… She is accused of having endangered her baby, she is asked some of the most intrusive questions, but each person applies their own way of thinking - myopia of a society incapable of perceiving its difference. Agressive police officers falsely accused, activists urging her to press charges, sensationalist journalist who transforms news, even a listening minister… none understand that she only wants to fix the glasses." ~ Olivier Barlet
"It is in listening to these women that Sanaa Akroud wrote this script which she both interprets and directs. Apart from the interviews, she does it with few words. Wolfango Alfi's sequence shots respond to this desire to account for the time taken by everyday acts. They contribute to the open-mindedness called for by this film without a clear message, if not to invite people to understand that an equivocation is not a limit but a complexity." ~ Olivier Barlet
"This story is sure to resonate with many American viewers learning about the depth of racial disparities and the flaws in U.S. democracy where agents of ‘liberal’ society and opposition parties once again reach out to Black and Brown Americans and immigrants with shallow promises of equality and reform." ~ Barbara Nimri Aziz
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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