I was surprised to find very few films by African directors in this year’s programme of the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam. At my count, 4 out of 317 — Samoute Andrey Diarra’s Sand Fishers, Karima Zoubir’s Woman with a Camera, Nadine Cloete’s Miseducation and Muhammad Taymour’s One Minute — but maybe I have overlooked some. That said, if you’re in Amsterdam this week: another festival, Africa in The Picture, has a fair selection and kicks off tomorrow. AITP, not unlike that other Africa-focussed film festival in the Low Countries mentioned last week, had its subsidies cut this year — the Arts Council of Amsterdam who advised the city government on this is on record quoting “it is no longer needed” — so I’m happy to see its 15th edition organized despite the odds. Continuing our series here on the blog, below are 10 more films we’ll be looking out for.
From North to South (sort of):
Accra-born, London-based John Akomfrah will turn his video installation The Unfinished Conversation on the life and work of academic Stuart Hall (photo above) into a film. Visitors to the Taipei and Liverpool Biennials were given a first glimpse of Akomfrah’s work, and reviews so far (here, here and here) have been promising.
One of the films showing at Africa in the Picture is Kenneth Aidoo’s first long feature Op de Grind (“On the grind”, filed under “Theme: Dutch Diaspora”). No English trailer yet:
Also tackling “diaspora” issues is Rengaine (“Refrain”). Rachid Djaïdani’s fiction film is set in Paris and tells the story of Dorcy (“a young Christian black man”) who wants to marry Sabrina (“a young arab girl,” according to the liner notes):
In A Minha Banda e EU, Inês Gonçalves and Kiluanje Liberdade share a story about “a new generation of Angolans — from Porto to Lisbon to Luanda — who see Semba and Kizomba as the greatest expression of their cultural identity”:
Afric Hotel is a documentary by Nabil Djedouani and Hassen Ferhani about South-North migration. A first fragment (“Jazz The Casbah”):
And here’s a second.
Shot mostly before the various uprisings in North Africa, Hala Alabdalla’s As if We Were Catching a Cobra originally set off as a film about political cartooning in Egypt (and Syria). It should make for insightful viewing. Here’s a longer rush:
Rui Simões’s film Kolá San Jon é Festa di Kau Berdi (2011) is now available on DVD. The film follows a group of Portuguese Cape Verdeans originally from Cova da Mora, Lisbon who travel to Cape Verde to attend the yearly São João Baptista festivities.
The Fade is Andy Mundy-Castle’s portrait of four barbers across the world. One of them is Offori “Tupac” Mensah who works in Labadi, Accra. Details here.
In Maris de Nuit (“Night husbands”), French-Martinican writer Fabienne Kanor (who already has several other films about Martinique under her belt) travels between Martinique and Burkina Faso, portraying the phenomenon of the “dorlis” (jinns, spirits):
And for Espoir Voyage (“Voyage hope”) Michel K. Zongo followed the itinerary his brother and many other young Burkinabé migrants make to Côte d’Ivoire:
* Africa in the Picture runs until October 28. Also happening this week is the Festival de Cine Africano in Cordoba, Spain. And starting soon is the Kenya International Film Festival (in Nairobi, October 24-November 3).