We’ve written about most of these titles – and continue to do so with successive screening events, because these are films you really need to see if you haven’t yet.
I’ll return to individually highlight those we haven’t covered. In the meantime, here’s the press release from BAM:
Brooklyn, NY/May 7, 2012—From Friday, May 25 through Monday, May 28, BAMcinématek presents this year’s edition of FilmAfrica, the cinema component of BAM’s longest-running performance series, DanceAfrica, the annual celebration of African and African-American dance, music, and culture. This year’s program, culled from festivals including Toronto and the African Film Festival, Inc.’s Traveling Series, highlights eight new and classic features from locations worldwide including Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Among the highlights is Akin Omotoso’s Man on Ground (2011), showing Saturday, May 26. Drawing comparisons to Bergman and Buñuel, writer/director/producer Omotoso is unquestionably part of a new wave of African cinema, and his thrilling third feature is a bold and exacting commentary on immigration in South Africa. This stylized crime drama, an official selection in Toronto’s world cinema category in 2011, follows Ade (Hotel Rwanda’s Hakeem Kae-Kazim), a successful banker in London who arrives in Johannesburg to search for his half-brother, Femi, among the refugee camps. When he discovers Femi is missing, Ade sets out to uncover the truth about his brother’s mysterious disappearance. Omotoso will appear in person for a Q&A following the 6:50pm screening.
Screening Monday, May 28 is a standout selection from the 2012 African Film Festival, Andy Amadi Okoroafor’s directorial debut, Relentless (2010—May 28). After years of working in creative advertising, Okoroafor makes his first foray into filmmaking with this visually striking urban tale set in Lagos, Nigeria. Obi, a peacekeeping soldier in Sierra Leone, meets a beautiful woman (renowned Nigerian-German hip hop and soul singer Nneka) and becomes entranced by her, but an unthinkable tragedy forces him to return home to Lagos, where his midnight wanderings help him reconcile with what has happened. Okoroafor, who also wrote and produced the film, will appear for a Q&A following the 6:50pm screening.
Closing the series on Monday, May 28 is a special family screening of animation auteur Michael Ocelot’s (FilmAfrica favorite Kirikou and the Sorceress) 3-D adventure Tales of the Night (2011). This collection of six exotic fairytales travels through faraway lands and times to tell stories of Aztec monsters, talking horses, love-struck werewolves, and more. The fables are “rendered instantly timeless through Ocelot’s signature silhouette style” (Peter Debruge, Variety), casting shadow-puppet figures against Day-Glo backgrounds that burst with color and kaleidoscopic patterns. The 2 and 4:30pm showings of the film will be accompanied by live readings of the subtitles especially for family audiences.
Also screening is the recently re-released apartheid-era classic Come Back, Africa (1959—May 26), called “a work of amazing grace and a forgotten treasure” (Sam Adams, Time Out New York); as well as Kongo: 50 Years of Independence of Congo (2010—May 27), a three-part series documenting the nation’s colonization through an interesting mix of technique, animation, and archival footage. Daniel Cattier, who directed the second episode of the series, will appear in person for a Q&A following the 5:00pm screening.