The AFI Film Festival is currently underway, running through the 10th of November (it officially started yesterday, the 3rd). Of note, in its World Cinema and New Auteurs sections are 4 titles we’ve covered several times on S&A, namely: The Invader, Kinyarwanda, Mama Africa, and in the New Auteurs section, Restless City. And since films in the World Cinema and New Auteurs sections are eligible for their respective section’s Audience Award, any of these 4 films could walk away with the the prize. Screenings will take place at the historic Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.Individual tickets and special passes are available to the general public. Ticket information can be found HERE, including how you can get FREE tickets to all screenings. Full writeups for each of the 4 films, as well as specific screening times and locations, follow below:
WORLD CINEMA SELECTIONS
This section presents new work by many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers.
The Invader (Belgium)
DIR Nicolos Provost
CAST Issaka Sawadogo, Stefania Rocca, Serge Riaboukine, Dieudonné Kabongo, Tibo Vandenborre, Hannelore Knuts
THE INVADER tells the story of Amadou (Issaka Sawadogo), an African immigrant living illegally in a bustling western European metropolis. Working for and housed by a construction company, he is essentially enslaved by his employers. When his friend and co-worker suddenly disappears after falling ill, he lashes out and flees to the city streets with few options and fewer resources. Luckily, Amadou manages to charm his way into the life of Agnès (Stefania Rocca), an affluent white woman, but how long can the relationship last before she discovers his desperate circumstances? Nicolas Provost’s debut feature uses guerilla-style camerawork and dramatic music to convey the tension of Amadou’s desperate plight. With deft style and an incredibly sharp eye, Provost lands on the global film scene with a bold and assured voice, keenly describing the sharpest edges of society and the darkest corners of a city’s secrets.
Saturday Nov. 5, 4:00pm, Rigler Theatre, Egyptian Sunday Nov. 6, 10:30pm, Chinese 1
Kinyarwanda (USA, Rwanda)
DIR Alrick Brown
CAST Cassandra Freeman, Edouard Bamporiki, Cleophas Kabasita
Six intimate stories are interwoven to tell the tragic story of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, when a machete-wielding Hutu militia began targeting and killing their Tutsi countrymen – their former friends and neighbors – with impunity. Making his feature film debut, director/writer Alrick Brown worked with Rwandan co-writer/producer Ishmael Ntihabose to craft this script from a uniquely Rwandan perspective. The result of that collaboration is a story that resonates with humanity and forgiveness, as it exposes and decries the fear and silence that enables tragedies like Rwanda’s genocide to continue to exist. KINYRARWANDA was the winner of the World Cinema Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Saturday Nov. 5, 1:15pm, Chinese 6 Tuesday Nov. 8, 4:15pm, Chinese 1
Mama Africa (Germany, South Africa, Finland)
DIR Mika Kaurismäki
The late, great Miriam Makeba (1932-2008) was one of the most charismatic African performers of her time. At the height of her popularity in Africa, Makeba boldly took a public anti-apartheid stand that led to the revocation of her passport and the beginning of a lifetime in exile. Director Mika Kaurismäki uncovers stunning archival footage that offers a rare glimpse into Makeba’s personal life, highlighting the deep admiration and gratitude that she felt for Harry Belafonte, who managed her career in the United States after she was forced to leave South Africa. Perhaps what is most remarkable about Makeba’s story is that she refused to be silenced. MAMA AFRICA masterfully reveals private moments which illuminate the depth and influence of this legendary artist’s political activism.
Friday Nov. 4, 7:00pm, Spielberg Theatre, Egyptian Saturday Nov. 5. 10:00pm, Rigler Theatre, Egyptian
NEW AUTEURS SELECTIONS
The New Auteurs section highlights first and second-time feature film directors from around the world.
Restless City (USA)
DIR Andrew Dosunmu
CAST Dania Gurira, Anthony Okungbowa, Sy Alassane, Sky Grey, Babs Olusanmokun
Director Andrew Dosunmu gives us a new point of view on New York City hustling, through the eyes of recent immigrants for whom there are no illusions about the inaccessibility of the American Dream. His main character, Djibril is an aspiring musician from Senegal who ekes out a living selling CDs to West African immigrants on the streets of Harlem. When Djibril falls for an attractive young African woman with her own hustle, he’s drawn into the brutal violence that is a byproduct of the city’s underground economies. Cinematographer Bradford Young infuses Dosunmu’s New York City with a visual melancholy that boldly and beautifully expresses Djibril’s broken dreams.
Friday Nov. 4, 4:45pm, Chinese 3 Saturday Nov. 5, 4:15pm, Spielberg Theatre, Egyptian