I received a few emails from folks who wanted to know how they could see this series of films, given that they haven’t been widely-accessible to interested audiences, despite traveling the international film festival tour over the past year. But I understand that we don’t all live in cities in which there are film festivals interested in a short film series like this one. I live in New York, and I haven’t even seen them all.
Those who are interested should be aware that you can actually purchase the entire series on DVD right now, available via the Goethe-Institut, the organization responsible for the series’ existence.
First a quick recap… in short, “African Metropolis,” the initiative selected from among 40 entries, 7 African directors, who each explore their own “African Metropolis” on film – Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos, and Nairobi.
The initiative is presented by executive producer Steven Markovitz and the Goethe-Institut South Africa, with further support from the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival of Rotterdam. Guaranty Trust Bank of Nigeria is also a partner.
The filmmakers are Jim Chuchu of Kenya; Egyptian director Ahmed Ghoneimy; Folasakin Iwajomo of Nigeria; Marie Ka, who is Senegalese/Martiniquan; Philippe Lacote of the Ivory Coast; Yohan Lengole of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and South African director Vincent Moloi.
The series world premiered at the 2013 Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), and have been touring the international film festival circuit since then – and still continue to travel.
But now, you don’t have to wait for the films to come to you; why not just buy them all in one DVD set, for $20 (not including shipping and handling)?
To do so, visit the website
set up for the African Metropolis Short Film Project, where you’ll find full details about each short.
In the meantime, below you’ll find individual titles, synopses, and images for each film. And at the bottom of this post, watch a spotlight on the series, which includes footage from the films.
Abidjan: “To Repel Ghosts,” directed by Philippe Lacôte.
On 12 August 1988, Jean-Michel Basquiat passed away. Nevertheless, his memory remains very much alive. This film pays homage to him by telling the unknown story of his trip to the Ivory Coast. Basquiat arrived in Abidjan at a time when he was exhausted. Haunted by his ghosts. All his hope lay in this first encounter with Africa…
Cairo: “The Cave,” directed by Ahmed Ghoneimy.
Adham, a young lad from Alexandria travels to Cairo to pursue his musical career and rebound with his old friend, Amr, a member of his former band who has since attempted to settle his life.
Dakar: “The Other Woman” (“L’autre Femme”), directed by Marie KA.
From Senegal comes a brave, controversial film set in the secret world of multiple spouse households. KA’s film homes in on one story as Madeleine and her husband’s new, young second wife develop a relationship far beyond conventional norms. The intimacy has the potential to blow apart a stable domestic situation, but it also has the potential to rewrite the story of both women’s lives. A bold and exquisitely tender film, beautifully acted and sensitively filmed against the backdrop of colourful, beguiling Dakar.
Johannesburg: “Berea,” directed by Vincent Moloi.
Long after his friends and family have moved on, Jewish pensioner Aaron Zukerman remains in his inner-city apartment, his world getting ever smaller and smaller, as the city closes in on his memories and happiness. His focus is on a weekly assignation with a kindly prostitute, for which he prepares days in advance. But when her unexpected replacement arrives one Friday, an initially angry response sparks a chain of events that ultimately changes the way the old man sees his world. A gentle, poetic ode to the power of reinvention.
Kinshasa: “Kisita,” directed by Carole Maloba.
Against the backdrop of middle-class Kinshasa, an aging wife hangs on to her role as the most important woman in her husband’s life. But her dominance is threatened by her beautiful – and flirtatious – daughter who seems hell-bent on stealing her man and her position. All is not as it seems though, and as jealousy threatens to get out of hand, events take an unexpected turn, one, which will leave no one untouched.
Lagos: “The Line-Up,” directed by Folasakin Iwajomo.
Ten men in a taxi, strangers to each other, head to an unusual line up, where they must strip and subject themselves to blindfolds and inspection by a mysterious woman and her charge. Only seven go home that night, big money in their pockets. But what of the other three? The ritual is replayed again and again, and the attrition continues. For one man the rumours of how much ‘the chosen’ make spurs him on – he is desperate for the money to pay for a child’s operation. But what is price of being chosen? Iwajomo’s spooky, disturbing film confronts the perils of the poverty trap and the abuse of the desperate, in an allegory for the exploited.
Nairobi: “Homecoming,” directed by Jim Chuchu.
Nothing is quite what it seems as a nerdy voyeur turns fiction into truth and the mundane into the unexpected in his quest to get the proverbial girl next door. Earth is about to be pulverised by a meteor – or is it? – and it is the ideal opportunity to finally make known his unspoken desires – and be a knight on the proverbial white steed. But a mysterious stranger stands in the way of his happiness. Will he overcome mass extinction and his own timidity and get the girl? A fun, warm, light-hearted look at obsession and the desire to be seen.
Below, watch a profile of the series. via Ndanit TV:
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