One of four films presented as an hommage to the master
of Egyptian cinema. Released in 1958, this classic
film noir with a strong sensual element uses Cairo's
main train station as a microcosm of all levels of
Ben M. Kalambayi
A fictional look at the day to day lives of immigrants
in Toronto that explores generational clashes, African
traditions vs Canadian customs and laws, often resulting
in very funny exchanges. Amusing but not high art.
-- ALEXANDRIA WHY?,
First part of an autobiographical trilogy; in 1940s
Alexandria, as Rommel's forces are approaching the
city. Smooth integration of archival footage. Film
needs restoration work.
PEARLS OF AFRICA: THE ABAYUDAYA JEWS OF UGANDA,
Informative look at the "Abayudaya," a community of
peasant farmers in a remote corner of Uganda who have
been practising a home grown form of Judaism for the
past 90 years.
LE SILENCE EST D'OR,
Another conscious raising film documenting the struggle
between ordinary people and corporate greed; this
time the effects on the village of Dumasi, Ghana by
a Canadian company strip-mining for gold.
THE DESTINY/ AL-MASSIR,
A criticism of intolerance and religious fundamentalism.
By setting the film in 12th century Marrakech ( Morroco)
and Cordoba (Spain) -- based on the story of Arab philosopher
Averroës -- we learn the hard way that intolerance
and xenophobia are written in our DNA. Exquisitely
detailed, beautiful cinematography and a profusion
of inspired period music: a mix of Arab classical
-- VICTOIRE TERMINUS,
Renaut Barret, Florent de la Latullaye
A portrait of a group of women boxers and their trainer in Kinshasa, Congo -- in the context of 2006 summer elections. Though a bit unfocused, we are clearly shown the "fragility" of peace.
-- NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH,
Post-Apartheid South Africa, year 2000; Man in early 60s, who has worked for 43 years at Port Elizabeth's central library is making preparations to bury his brother who had been living in exile in England. Will the truth about the past finally be revealed? A film that looks at the after-effects of apartheid.
-- ALEXANDRIA, AGAIN AND FOREVER,
Third and final film of Chahine's autobiographical trilogy. Unlike the first two, this one is somewhat self-indulgent but the dance sequences are exquisite, especially those involving the director.
Title refers to a poor white suburb of Johannesburg
that was built upon the ruins of Sophiatown, a former
black community -- in March 1994, just days before
South Africa's first free elections. By the director's
own accounting, the tragi-comedy about a strange and
bizarre Afrikaans family was watered down, which reduced
the impact of the film.
-- THE HILLSIDE CROWD,
Modern day gold diggers setting up makeshift villages on the hillsides of Burkina Faso. Complicated subject approached from from a humanistic rather than sensational point of view.
-- MOMO LE DOYEN,
tribute to a pioneer of Afrojazz -- Momo Wandel Soumah
(1926-2003; Guinea). An enriching discovery.
-- GLORIOUS EXIT,
Jarreth Merz has a Swedish mother and is the eldest
son of a Nigerian father. Thus, according to Nigerian
tradition, it is his responsibility to take care of
all the funeral arangements. A uncertain journey unfolds
that obliges him to confront the complexities of Nigerian
funerals and the ethos that informs them: superstition,
clan rivalries, unscrupulous financial dealings.
FOR THIS IS MY BODY, Michelange
symbolic allegory mixing colonialism and ceremonial
voodoo etc. Magestic opening leads us inland to
a former Haitian plantation now occupied by a French
matriarch and her daughter simply addressed as Madam.
Time will be the final judge of this film.
JOHNNY MAD DOG,
Disturbing war film focusing on the horror of child
soldiers. Set in Liberia during the civil war, this
film grabs the viewer where it hurts the most and
doesn't let go until the very last note of the final
credits. Everything, from the riveting dialogue,
the charged scenes and the telling music (including
Nina Simone's rendition of "Strange Fruit") factor
into making this an extremely disturbing, difficult
and very important, must-viewing film.
LE PAYS EN L'ENVERS,
Director returns to Guadeloupe her father had left
50 years earlier to retrace the origins of her name.
Very personal and subjective. Of greater interest
to those of Antillesian origin.
Algerian comedy about a prideful man whose narcoleptic
sister is mocked by other villagers. One night while
drunk he announces in the village square that a
wealthy businessman has asked for her hand in marriage.
All kinds of complications arise as he attempts
to keep up with this mascarade. Enjoyable but predictable.