GREAT AFRICAN FILMS, VOLUME 2: Tasuma / Sia, the Dream of the Python- The second installment in this series of award-winning films from Africa includes Kollo Sanou's Tasuma, the Fighter (2003, 90 minutes, French and Jula with English subtitles), a look at the impact of French colonialism on Africa; Former Senegalese tirailleurs, Burkinabe soldier Sogo Sanou waits patiently for his pension, which he plans to use to build a grain mill for the women of his village; Inspired by the seventh-century myth of the Wagadu people of Western Africa is Dani Kouyate's Sia, the Dream of the Python (2001, 96 minutes, Bambara with English subtitles): To bring back prosperity to his village, a King decides to make a human sacrifice to the mystical snake god; Sia, the most beautiful woman in the village, is chosen for the ritual, but she runs away in revolt. - 186 minutes.
TASUMA, THE FIGHTER
Sogo Sanou, a.k.a. Tasuma, is a former French soldier, a part of the African troops better known as “tiralleurs senegalais” who fought in the French wars in Europe and its colonial territories. He was a soldier in the wars of Indochina and Algeria. Although an honored veteran, Tasuma spends decades painfully waiting for his small pension, an amount that in his native Burkina Faso represents a fortune, even though it will equal only a small fraction of the amount paid to his French counterparts.
In a scene that takes us back to another African classic, The Money Order by Ousmane Sembene, Tasuma impulsively buys a treadmill for the women in his village with the money represented by his future pension payment, although he doesn’t know exactly when it will come through.
The money does not arrive, and our hero is in trouble and out of patience. With his old rifle he walks into the pension plan administrator’s office and demands his money. He ends up in jail, and it is up to the women from the village to come down to the city to free Tasuma. Tasuma the Fighter, is a portrait of a bureaucratic adventure that, even 60 years after World War II and 44 years after the independence movement in Africa, is not yet resolved.
As Kollo Daniel Sanou, the director of Tasuma, points out: “The story of Tasuma is also the narration of a historic mismatch, that of the particular status of those former combatants of the African troupes in the French Army.”
|Burkina Faso|2003| 90min | comedy in French/Moore with English subtitles | Daniel Kollo Sanou, Dir. | Winner Bronze Yennenga Stallion, FESPACO 2005
"Tasuma camouflages its razor-sharp indignation with warmth and disarming grace" ~ VILLAGE VOICE
"Director and writer Kollo Daniel Sanou is in a becalmed, idyllic state of mind, as he leans back and lets this mildly satiric parable unfold." ~ THE NEW YORK TIMES
SIA: THE DREAM OF THE PYTHON
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 honor, corruption and power.
| Burkina Faso/France |2001 | 96min |Epic Drama in Bambara with English subtitles |Dani Kouyaté, Dir. | Winner “Special Prize of the Jury” FESPACO 2001 - Official Selection Cannes 2001.
“A delightful, pointed fable of religious and political extremism that's extra-relevant at present” ~ Dennis Harvey - VARIETY
"Delivers a powerful commentary on how governments lie, no matter who runs them" NEW YORK POST
GREAT AFRICAN FILMS - Vol 5 The fifth installment in this series of award-winning films from Africa includes award winning films A Son (Un Fils) by Mehdi Barsaoui and Wuluby Daouda Coulibaly.
A SON (Un Fils) / Bik Eneich
An intense family drama starring French-Tunisian actor Sami Bouajila, winner of the Orizzonti Award for Best Actor, Venice Film Festival 2019 and winner of the César Awards, France for Best Actor in 2021.
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
Directed By Mehdi Barsaoui / Tunisia/ 2019/ Drama/ Arabic With English Subtitles/ 96 Min
Shot for a good deal of the time using hand-held cameras,WÙLUis an African thriller that has an urgency and a vibrancy most Western made films lack.
Ladji, (a beautifully understated Ibrahim Koma), is the young man who, after losing his job on the cross-border taxis, takes up smuggling cocaine with lucrative if highly dangerous results.
A social commentary about the impact of corruption on intelligent, hard working African youths looking to improve their standard of living at home.
Official Selection TIFF 2016. Winner Ousmane-Sembene Prize and Best Actor Award for Ibrhim Koma at FESPACO 2017.
Directed by Daouda Coulibaly, 2016, France/Mali, 95min, crime drama, French w/ English subtitles
GREAT AFRICAN FILMS: VOLUME 4 The fourth installment in this series of award-winning films from Africa includes Moussa Toure's impressive "The Pirogue" and Khady Sylla's incisive docs "Colobane Express" and "The Silent Monologue."
THE PIROGUE / LA PIROGUE
Director: Moussa Toure From: Senegal / France / Germany Year: 2012 Minutes: 87mins Language : French and Wolof with English Subtitles Genre: Drama
In Moussa Toure's powerful epic fiction film, a group of 30 men and a woman 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.
"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.
* Festival international du Film de Cannes, Un Certain Regard, 2012 * Tanit d'or award, Carthage Film Festival, 2012 * Award for best direction, people's choice award, Angouleme, 2012 * Prix Lumieres award for best French-language film, Locarno International Film Festival
Director: Khady Sylla From: Senegal/France Year: 1999 Minutes: 52 Language: Wolof with English subtitles Genre: Docu-Drama
Public vans provide the traditional and sole means of city transportation in Dakar, Senegal. In a frenzy of activity, from the outskirts to downtown, people from all walks of life as well as fruits, vegetables, chickens, etc. are transported daily in these public vans. Colobane Express opens a window on a slice of life in the busy urban metropolis where drivers and their trainees are always on the go, managing relationships, incidents and conflicts, dealing with the competition and providing an invaluable service to demanding yet loving customers.
THE SILENT MONOLOGUE / LE MONOLOGUE DE LA MUETTE
Director: Khady Sylla and Charlie Van Damme From: Senegal / Belgium Year: 2008 Minutes:48mins Language : French and Wolof with English subtitles Genre: Docu-drama
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.
GREAT AFRICAN FILMS, VOLUME 3:Daratt (Dry Season) & The Desert Ark - The third installment in this series of award-winning films from Africa includes Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's Dry Season (2006, 95 minutes, French and Arabic with English subtitles), a subtle and often surprising film from Chad about the relationship between a young man and his father’s killer set at the end of the country’s civil war when the government has granted amnesty to war criminals - and Mohamed Chouikh's The Desert Ark (1997, 90 minutes, Arabic with English subtitles), Two teenagers from opposite sides of the tracks fall in love, their forbidden relationship pitting family against family - 185 minutes.
DARATT (DRY SEASON)
Chad, 2006. The government has granted amnesty to all war criminals. Atim, 16 years old, is given a revolver by his grandfather so that he may kill the man who killed his father. Atim leaves his village for N’djamena, seeking a man he does not know. He quickly locates him: former war criminal Nassara is now married and settled down as the owner of a small bakery. With the firm intention of killing him, Atim gets closer to Nassara under the guise of looking for work, and is hired as an apprentice baker. Intrigued by Atim's attitude toward him, Nassara takes him under his wing and teaches him the secrets of making bread. Over the weeks, a strange relationship evolves between the two. Despite his disgust, Atim seems to recognise in Nassara the father figure he has always needed, while Nassara sees the teenager as a potential son. One day, he suggests adoption. | Chad | 2006 | 95min | drama in French and Arabic with English subtitles | Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Dir. | Winner "Special Jury Prize" Venice Film Festival 2006 Winner Bronze Yennenga Stallion, FESPACO 2007
“Haroun is an uncommonly precise filmmaker who guides Daratt to an unusually satisfying ending.” - TIME OUT NEW YORK
THE DESERT ARK
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. 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 visualization of contemporary reality..
| Algeria | 1997 | 90min |Epic Drama in Arabic with English subtitles | Mohamed Chouikh, Dir. | Winner “Best Cinematography" Special Jury Prize FESPACO 1999.
GREAT AFRICAN FILMS: VOLUME 1 :Haramuya & Faraw! Mother of the Dunes-Two films are included in the package, making for an entertaining and edifying double feature experience: Drissa Toure’sHaramuya (1995) is a dramatic comedy about several generations of a traditional Muslim family scraping up against various temptations (crime, movies, drugs, music) of modernity in the city ofOuagadougou, the capital ofBurkina Faso, and Abbdoulaye Ascofare’sFaraw: Mother of the Dunes(1997), from Mali is about a mother of three who struggles to support her family while saving her daughter from becoming the concubine-maid of a French colonialist.
FARAW! MOTHER OF THE DUNES
Zamiatou is the mother of two quarrelsome boys and a depressed teenage girl. She is also the wife of a man arrested for political reasons who returns from prison mentally and physically destroyed. She struggles hard to survive in a poor and desolate area. She is ready to face anything to keep the family alive except prostituting her beautiful daughter. Her determination will take her far from her family… Detail by detail, this finely lensed first feature salutes the triumph of human ingenuity over terrible odds.
| Mali|1997| 90min | drama in Songhai with English subtitles | Abbdoulaye Ascofare, Dir. | Best Actress, FESPACO 1997. Cannes 1997 Official Selection, International Critics Week.
“One of the strongest portraits of female determination to come out of Africa in recent years.” ~ VARIETY
Ouagadougou, its buildings and shantytowns... Wealth in a modern town and poverty in the suburbs. Through Fousseini — a Muslim firmly attached to his faith, traditions and family, Haramuya draws a picture of Ouagadougou trapped between modernism and traditionalism. Fousseini tries to take care of his family according to the old precepts and the code of honor inherited from his ancestors. One of his sons is a cinema projectionist and supports all the family against the will of his wife. The other son idles around all day long in Ouagadougou, looking for a girlfriend.
| Burkina Faso/France |1995 | 87min |comedy in French with English subtitles |Drissa Toure, Dir. | Official selection, Cannes 1995 “Un Certain Regard.”