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.
CANADA AND HAITI / 2004 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITILES / 96 MIN
Newly arrived in Montréal, and determined to conquer North America by charming blond-haired women, Gégé, a Haitian in his thirties, lands up at Fanfan's - his nostalgic uncle who has given up poetry for a good old taxicab and dreams of returning to his homeland. Over the course of one night filled with humor and friendship -- highlighted by a party attended by twins Andrée and Denise, two Quebecers with contrasting charms -- the two fun-loving guys take stock of their lives, memories and fantasies. Meanwhile, on television, various celebrities draw up a comic portrait of North American society.
"A shrewd, funny, humane and very well-written and acted comedy from Haitian-born Montreal writer Dany Laferriere (author of "How To Make Love To a Negro Without Getting Tired" and "On the Verge of a Fever"), who makes a lively directorial debut with this comic-dramatic tale." ~ Michael Wilmington - Chicago Tribune
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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
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.
Kafe Negro tells the story of migrations around a small grain that has become 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, have profoundly transformed the culture and demography of Cuba and allowed the development of coffee growing on the island.
Directed by Mario Delatour | Cuba & Haiti | 2020 | Documentary | French and Spanish with English subtitles
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.
FRANCE and ALGERIA / 2002 / FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES / 102 MIN
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. Passing through the hands of various smugglers, they cross the desert of Mauritania and Algeria, first in a pick up, then in the back of refrigerated fish trucks, and are finally dumped and forced to walk to the Moroccan border. Though each is lured by a different reason, they unite to overcome obstacles and finally reach the coast of Morocco, where they stand looking at Spain across the narrow Straits of Gibraltar. On reaching Tangiers, the invisible travelers go their separate ways and prepare to attempt the fateful crossing to Spain.
Mostefa Djadjam's beautiful debut feature confronts the global controversy of refugees while examining the complexities of human nature. Djadjam, originally trained as an actor, gives a restrained, compassionate account of what is at stake for illegal immigrants, fashioning a stunning film for its subtleties about identity. He presents consistent moral questions, demanding judgment on the decisions and actions of his characters when even the most sympathetic become ruthless and callous in their quest for a better life. The trip in Borders is not easy for either the travelers or the viewer who must watch these sad all–too human beings endure physical and psychological hardships before attaining “freedom.” Not all the travelers succeed. Some find love – some manage to laugh. The viewer, meanwhile, gains a new understanding of the problems which confront Africa-and more importantly, Africans-today.
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.
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.
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.
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.