Taking place at UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Archive, at 2575 Bancroft Way, from Wednesday, January 23rd through Tuesday, February 5th.
General admission is $9.50 for one program, $13.50 for double bills. For BAM/PFA members, children, UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff, the cost is $5.50/9.50. And for other students, young people (13-17), seniors, and disabled persons, $6.50/10.50.
For tickets call 510-642-5249; or visit http://bampfa.berkeley.edu for more info.
The screening series is organized by the African Film Festival, Inc, and is curated by Kathy Geritz.
For the rest of the story, as well as the full lineup of films (some you should recognize, because we’ve covered them), see below:
The annual African Film Festival provides a striking opportunity to learn about Africa and the African diaspora through recent films. The concerns of African filmmakers are often aesthetic and political—the desire to depict the realities of their everyday lives and to interpret their history from their own perspective. A number of the featured documentaries look to the past to examine forces that continue to influence the present. Our Beloved Sudan traces the complex history leading to the partition of Sudan; The Unbroken Spirit focuses on the courageous fight for a multiparty democracy in Kenya; and the arc of Black Africa, White Marble moves from colonial-era to present-day Republic of Congo. All three take the vantage point of one individual in order to bring to life a larger history. Other documentaries observe life as it unfolds and portray collective experience: the poetic Broken Stones depicts Port-au- Prince, Haiti after the earthquake and Africa Shafted focuses on Johannesburg, South Africa as it absorbs immigrants from all over Africa. Microphone celebrates Egypt’s vibrant youth culture of hip-hop and graffiti art, while How to Steal 2 Million, a stylish noir, and a number of short films highlight the creative spirit of younger filmmakers.
Wednesday / 1.23.13
Ahmad Abdalla (Egypt, 2010)
When Khaled returns to his native Alexandria from his studies in the United States, he has difficulty finding his place until he discovers a vibrant underground youth culture of skateboarders, hip-hop musicians, female rockers, and graffiti artists. Tagged “highly radical in the context of contempo Egyptian and Arabic cinema” by critic Robert Koehler, the kinetic, colorful Microphone is a modern-day city symphony, a documentary embedded in a light fictional framework. The young people play themselves and collaborated on the script, amplifying their experiences as underground artists and musicians.
Written by Abdalla. Photographed by Tarek Hefny. With Khaled Abol Naga, Atef Yousef, Hany Adel, Yosra El Lozy. (120 mins, In Arabic with English subtitles, Color, Digital Video)
Preceded by: The Journey of Stones
(Seydou Cissé, Mali, 2012).
(Faraw ka taama). Once a young boy magically animated stones; now an older woman tells her daughter the story of the building of the Markala Bridge. (In Bambara with English subtitles, Color, 11 mins, DigiBeta, From Le Fresnoy)
Total running time: 131 mins
Sunday / 1.27.13
Black Africa, White Marble
Clemente Bicocchi (U.S./Republic of Congo /Italy, 2011)
The Italian-born Pietro Savorgnan di Brazzà explored Central Africa beginning in the 1870s. His nonviolent approach, which led to the establishment of a French colony in the Congo, contrasted with that of the better-known Henry Stanley who brutally claimed parts of the Congo region for Belgium. This history, illuminated through an innovative mix of archival material, puppets, and animation, erupts into the present as Brazzà’s descendants attempt to counter a plan by Congo’s president to bring the explorer’s remains to the country for political gain— “a family story with operatic twists and turns” (New York Daily News).
(77 mins, In English, Italian, French, with English subtitles, Color, Digital Video)
Preceeded by: Tomo (Bakary Diallo, Mali, 2012).
The personal toll of war is felt in an area haunted by the spirits of those who lived there. (7 mins, Color, DigiBeta, From Le Fresnoy)
Total running time: 93 mins
Tuesday / 1.29.13
Monica Wangu Wamwere: The Unbroken Spirit
Jane Murago Munene (Kenya, 2011)
When the Kenyan human rights activist Koigi wa Wamwere is detained as a political prisoner, his mother, Monica Wangu Wamwere, a.k.a. Mama Koigi, becomes politically active herself. Her unceasing search for justice, including a hunger strike and actions supporting the call for democracy in Kenya, are movingly detailed in this spirited documentary portrait.
(71 mins, In Kikuyu and English with English subtitles, Color, Digital Video)
Preceded by Lack of Evidence (Hayoun Kwon, France, 2011).
(Manque de preuves). This ingenious animation documents a Nigerian refugee’s story of persecution. (9 mins, In French with English subtitles, B&W, DigiBeta, From Le Fresnoy)
Total running time: 80 mins
Saturday / 2.2.13
How to Steal 2 Million
Charlie Vundla (South Africa, 2011)
Charlie Vundla’s first feature film is a stylish updating of the crime drama genre, set in the “jungle” of Johannesburg. When Jack gets out of prison for a robbery gone bad, he vows to go legit, but his former partner Twala has big ideas for one last heist, complicated by the fact that the target is his father. In this intricately plotted tale, everyone needs quick money, everyone has a secret, and no one can be trusted. “How to Steal 2 Million is a slow-burn heist movie that resonates with strong performances and classic noir ambience” (Seattle Film Festival).
Written by Vundla. Photographed by Nicolaas Hofmeyr. With Menzi Ngubane, Rapulana Seiphemo, Terry Pheto, Hlubi Mboya (89 mins, In English and Zulu with English subtitles, Color, Digital Video)
Sunday / 2.3.13
Our Beloved Sudan
Taghreed Elsanhouri (Sudan, 2011)
An eye-opening account of an issue that hasn’t received nearly enough international attention.—Rolling Stone
(Sudanna al Habib). The complex history of Sudan, from its establishment in 1956 to its partition in 2011, is detailed through interviews, rare archival footage, and the personal experiences of one mixed-race family. Amira Alteraify, born of a Northern father and a Southern mother, spent part of her childhood with her mother and part with her father’s family, where she was treated as a servant. Her efforts to come to terms with these difficult experiences bring into sharp relief the larger struggles of her nation.
(92 mins, In Arabic and English with English subtitles, Color, Digital Video)
Preceded by: Farewell Exile
(Lamia Alami, Morocco, 2011).
(Salam Ghourba). Fatima, whose husband has emigrated to France, longs for a better life for her young son. (15 mins, In Arabic with English subtitles, Color, Digital Video)
Total running time: 107 mins
Tuesday / 2.5.13
Guetty Felin (Haiti /France /U.S., 2012)
In Person Guetty Felin
The oldest area in Port-au-Prince was the most damaged by the January 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti. Broken Stones observes everyday life as it resumes amid the ruins of the once beautiful and grand cathedral, affectionately called Notre Dame de Port-au-Prince. The congregation gathers to pray alongside newly arrived foreign missionaries, children play games and musicians bring out their instruments, some express anger at the slow reconstruction, and others ponder what angered God in this impressionistic, beautiful film.
Photographed by Hervé Cohen. (61 mins, In Haitian Creole, French, English with English subtitles, Color, DigiBeta, From the artist)
Africa Shafted: Under One Roof
Ingrid Martens (South Africa, 2011)
Johannesburg’s tallest building houses more than four thousand residents from all over Africa, drawn to the city by the dream of improving their lives. Interviewed riding its elevators, tenants relate the ups and downs of city life.
(56 mins, Color, Digital Video)
Total running time: 117 mins