A reminder for our New York readers…
You’ll notice several titles that have been discussed here on S&A, as well as names of talent, including Ousmane Sembène, who’s being celebrated at the festival this year, with 2 of his films screening, as well as a documentary on him. Perfect timing, since I’ve revived our Filmmaker Series, starting with the films of Ousmane Sembène!
Opening Night launches with the rarely-screened Guelwaar from Sembène.
This year’s festival also includes the U.S. Premiere of Dolce Vita Africana, about legendary Malian photographer Malick Sidibe, as well as the buzzed-about films Death for Sale, Burn it up Djassa and Nairobi Half Life from the new wave of young African directors.
Also Haitian-born Hollywood actor Jimmy Jean-Louis will be present for the screening of his historical epic Toussaint Louverture, directed by Philippe Niang.
For the full lineup of this year’s New York African Film Festival, as well as screening venues, and ticket info, see below from the press release:
THE NEW YORK AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL RETURNS TO FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER APRIL 3 – 9 TO CELEBRATE ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY
All screenings will take place in the Walter Reade Theater on 165 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam). Tickets for New York African Film Festival screenings go on sale March 7, 2013 at the Film Society’s box offices and online at www.FilmLinc.com. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. Plus, save when you purchase tickets to three films or more with a special discount package. A three film package is $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. Visit www.FilmLinc.com for complete film festival information.
The festival continues at Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies on Thursday, April 18 for a daylong, free scholarly public program, then heads to the Maysles Cinema Institute in Harlem May 2 to 5. NYAFF closes over Memorial Day Weekend May 24 to 27 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music BAMcinématek—part of the dance and music festival DanceAfrica. For details, visit African Film Festival online at www.africanfilmny.org.Films and Descriptions for New York African Film Festival
GUELWAAR (1992) 115m
Director: Ousmane Sembène
A trenchant comic portrait of contemporary Africa by the great Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, Guelwaar revolves around the mysterious death and even more mysterious disappearance after death of one Pierre Henri Thioune (called Guelwaar, the Noble One), a political activist, philandering patriarch, and pillar of the local Christian community.
Wednesday, April 3 at 7:30pm
An Evening with Moussa Touré – TGV (1997) 90m
Director: Moussa Touré
TGV is an express bus service between Dakar, Senegal, and Conakry, Guinea, operated by the enterprising Rambo and his assistant, Dembo. Before setting off, Rambo and his passengers are warned of the danger that lies ahead on their route. The Bassari are carrying out a revolt at the Guinea border, leading to an exodus of refugees from their villages. On hearing the news, only a dozen or so passengers decide to make the risky trip. During the arduous journey, each passenger’s motivation for making the trip is slowly revealed.
Tuesday, April 9 at 8:30pm
ALASKALAND (2012) 75m
Director: Chinonye Chukwu
Country: United States/Nigeria
In this gorgeous, knowing debut film, Chukwuma, an Alaska-raised Nigerian struggles to balance his cultural heritage with the pressures of the world around him. After a family tragedy forces a two-year estrangement from his younger sister Chidinma, the siblings reconnect in their hometown.
BONESHAKER (2012) 12m
Director: Frances Bodomo
Boneshaker follows a Ghanaian immigrant family on a road trip to a Pentecostal church in Louisiana to cure its problem child, played by Beasts of the Southern Wild Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis. As the family journeys to a tent revival at the ends of the levee-less Louisiana delta, they discover the complications of trying to perform a traditional ritual away from home. Boneshaker focuses on the feelings of homelessness, landlessness, and rootlessness that accompany immigration.
Thursday, April 4 at 3:30pm
Tuesday, April 9 at 6:00pm
BURN IT UP DJASSA (2012) 70m
Director: Lonesome Solo
Country: Ivory Coast
After the deaths of his parents, Tony makes aliving selling cigarettes. Looking for easy money, he turns to gambling and is dragged further into the seedy underworld of Wassakara—until he commits a shocking crime that irrevocably changes his life.
Saturday, April 6 at 9:00pm
DEATH FOR SALE (2011) 117m
Director: Faouzi Bensaïdi
Three friends decide to rob biggest jewelry store in Moroccan port city Tetouan to escape from a hopeless future. But when the plan falls apart, they must face their destinies alone.
Saturday, April 6 at 6:00pm
Tuesday, April 9 at 1:30pm
DOLCE VITA AFRICANA (2008) 63m
Director: Cosima Spender
Country: Mali, 2008
A documentary about internationally-renowned Malian photographer Malick Sidibe, whose iconic images from the late-50s through 70s captured the carefree spirit of his generation asserting their freedom after independence, until an Islamic coup ushered in years of military dictatorship.
A HISTORY OF INDEPENDENCE (2009) 21m
Director: Daouda Coulibaly,
Following an African cinematic trend of retelling traditional oral stories through cinema, this film depicts the life of newlyweds Sire and Nama. Nama decides to make his home in a cave, where he will lead a hermit’s life and devote himself to God.
Thursday, April 4 at 6:00pm
Tuesday, April 9 at 4:00pm
JEANS & MARTO (2011) 52m
Director: Claudia Palazzi and Clio Sozzani
A young Ethiopian escapes his arranged marriage to fulfill his dream of becoming an educated man, struggling to balance his tribe’s customs and with his pursuit of knowledge.
LEZARE (2010) 14m
Director: Zelalem Woldemariam Ezare
Lezare is a revealing and touching story about a homeless boy in a small village in southern Ethiopia, using beautiful visuals to deliver a powerful message about global warming and shortsightedness.
Friday, April 5 at 6:00pm
Monday, April 8 at 4:00pm
LAND RUSH (2012) 58m
Director: Hugo Berkeley & Osvalde Lewat
For 20 years, the hunger crisis seemed to be under control. But by 2008, prices had increased, and the African continent had become a playground for foreign investors. This investigative documentary focuses on Sosumar, a huge project that has the Malian government collaborating with a large group of foreign investors.
FUELING POVERTY (2012) 28m
Director: Ishaya Bako
A rallying cry for change in Nigeria by the Occupy Nigeria movement and an artistic depiction of the failings of fuel subsidy management in Nigeria, Fueling Poverty graphically captures the various contours of this debate and the resilience of Nigerians in demanding change. It examines the effect of corruption on the country and the need for Nigerians to hold their government accountable.
Thursday, April 4 at 1:30pm
Saturday, April 6 at 3:30pm
LIFE ON EARTH (1998) 61m
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
On the eve of the year 2000, Dramane returns from France to the village of Sokolo, his father’s home in Mali. As he bicycles through the village and surrounding fields, he meets Nana, a beautiful young girl on her own journey. Recipient of a Special Mention from the FESPACO jury in 1999.
OCTOBER (1992) 37m
Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
Two lovers struggle to end their impossible affair during one last October night together in Moscow. Shot entirely in Moscow and Paris, October blends a strongly contemporary feel with nostalgia. Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Saturday, April 6 at 1:00pm
Monday, April 8 at 6:00pm
NAIROBI HALF LIFE (2012) 96m
Director: David Tosh Gitonga
Mwas is a young aspiring actor who moves from his home village to Nairobi to try to make it big. But as he moves towards his dream of taking center stage, he finds himself drawn into a world of small time crooks and deceit in the smoky bustle of Kenya’s capital.
Thursday, April 4 at 8:15pm
Sunday, April 7 at 8:00pm
OUSMANE SEMBÉNE ALL AT ONCE / OUSMANE SEMBÉNE TOUT A LA FOIS (2008) 52m
Director: Christine Delorme
Sembene’s legend is that of a man politically involved and strongly committed, but little attention has been paid to his private and family life. For this reason he remains a solitary figure, an image he himself cherished. As Sembène says, “I am a storyteller, an artist striving to express the secret pulsation of my people.” Delorme’s film portrays Sembène at his most candid and reveals his take on the women in his filmGuelwaar.
BOROM SARRET (1963) 18m
Director: Ousmane Sembène
The genesis of Black African Cinema can be traced to this short, stark masterpiece that chronicles a day in the life of a Dakar cart driver. The frustrating day of this borom sarret (a Wolof expression for cart driver) leaves him cheated out of his wages and deprived of his cart.
Wednesday, April 3 at 6:00pm
Monday, April 8 at 2:00pm
STONES IN THE SUN (2012) 95m
Director: Patricia Benoit
In the midst of increasing political violence in their homeland, the lives of three pairs of Haitian refugees intersect in 1980s New York City. They must confront the disturbing truth of their pasts, as the history of their interlocked lives is slowly revealed.
Friday, April 5 at 1:30pm
Sunday, April 7 at 1:00pm
TOUSSAINT (2011) 180m
Director: Philippe Niang
At the age of eight, Toussaint Louverture is marked forever when he sees his father, an old slave, judged unproductive and thrown into the harbor. As an adult and a free man, Louverture leads the slave revolt that results in the independence of Haiti.
With 10-minute intermission
Wednesday, April 3 at 2:00pm
Sunday, April 7 at 3:30pm
VIRGIN MARGARIDA (2012) 90m
Director: Licínio Azevedo
Veteran filmmaker Licinio Azevedo draws on the stories of real women who endured the Mozambican “re-education camps” in this dramatic and inspiring elegy to the insurgent spirit of women across nations, histories and cultures.
VIVA FRELIMO! (1971) 13m
Director: Yuri Yegorov & Leonid Maksimov
A document of the struggle of the people of Mozambique for independence and the history and activities of the organization Frelimo: Front for the Liberation of Mozambique. From the collection of Russian State Documentary Film and Photo Archive in Krasnogorsk City.
Friday, April 5 at 3:30pm
Monday, April 8 at 8:30pm