AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

Author Archive

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Friday, February 7th, 2014

New short film: John Akomfrah, Stuart Hall and the film essay

In 2013 I had the opportunity to work with frieze, a UK-based contemporary art and culture magazine. Towards the end of my time at the magazine, I co-produced a film on John Akomfrah, which just went live today (film below). For those of you unfamiliar with Akomfrah’s work, he began his practice as an artist

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

New Work by Julie Mehretu: The Unruly Rush of the City

It is as if Julie Mehretu has boxed some corner of a great, rambling city, shaken it, and spilled the contents out onto a canvas. Girders and struts, and the faint memory of the structure and reason...

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Review of Ellen Gallagher’s Tate Modern show: “Your truths are self-evident. Ours, a mystery”

The English word ‘perspective’ derives from the Latin, perspectiva, which means ‘to see through’, and as such, instantly assumes a position – a viewer and a horizon, and an in-between space that demarcates self and other, subject...

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

The Afronauts nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize

On April 19th, the Deutsche Börse photography prize will open at London’s Photographers’ Gallery. Awarded annually since 1996, the prize has an impressive list of recipients — Jeurgen Teller, Walid Raad, Paul Graham, John Stezaker, to name but...

Monday, December 24th, 2012

The Top 10 Films of 2012

As always, end of year lists are met with anticipation; either by those eager to see the year in review, or by critics ready to decry what has been left off. No list is definitive, so please...

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The Trouble with “The Trouble with Aid”

“And the world weeps with them…”, narrates the solemn 70s commentator over images of children in Biafra, bloated by kwashiorkor. These are the opening shots of the documentary film, The Trouble With Aid, which screened on the...

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Film Africa (3): The struggle of the Sahrawi

Guest post by Lindiwe Dovey Several years ago, I visited Casablanca in Morocco for a few days. What I remember most about that trip is the Hassan II mosque, the largest mosque in the world that non-Muslims...

Friday, October 12th, 2012

“To Bring the Beat Home”: Soul Power in Kinshasa

The opening scene: Soul Brother No. 1 dressed in a skin tight matador-cum-gimp suit, drop-kicking the mic, screeching, roaring, galvanising a Congolese crowd into pure hysteria, while chanting ‘I’m black and I’m proud’, so camp as to...

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Africa is a Country and London’s Film Africa 2012 Festival

This year Africa is a Country is partnering with Film Africa, London’s only annual African film festival to review some of the films that will be screening 1-11 November. Perhaps this should also be filed partly under...

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Five alternative filmmaking collectives

Theatrical release is the holy grail of filmmaking. Well, it was until relatively recently. But, since the internet, dvds, digital files and all the other ethereal modes of sharing and circulating became available to the masses, alternative...

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Utopia Unstuck: A review of Africa Utopia’s African Sci-Fi screening

Guest post by Evelyn Owen Last week, I scuttled along to London’s Southbank Centre for the Africa Sci-Fi Screening, an event forming part of the month-long Africa Utopia season. Having failed to make it to Bristol in...

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Curating Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction

Currently showing at the Arnolfini, the exhibition ‘Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction’ brings together various fictions. Science fiction becomes racial fictions become state fictions that fold into colonial fictions and back again. Science fiction becomes an umbrella...

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Dear Mandela, …

Midway through ‘Dear Mandela’, Mazwi Nzimande, one of its young protagonists, is rallying a crowd. He’s young, nervous. He looks down at his hands as he takes the microphone, wearing his organisation’s trademark red t-shirt. “We are...

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Cannes is a Country

Another May, another champagne drenched Cannes festival. Soaked in the Riviera sun, there were a few interesting films screening from outside of Europe, some of which caught my attention. First, a film from veteran Senegalese director Moussa...

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

‘We’ve always been migrating’

Bentley Brown, director of the exciting new film ‘Faisal Goes West’, spoke with me about migration, building a cinematic bridge between Sudan and America, and lawyers turned pizza delivery boys.

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

A French migration fairytale and other films

In his new film ‘Le Havre’, the Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki has beautifully weaved a whimsical, somewhat timeless portrayal of France — all baguettes, bars à vins and shoe-shine boys — with an unavoidably contemporary problem that...

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Classic African Films N°3: ‘Come Back, Africa’ by Lionel Rogosin

‘Come Back, Africa’ (1959) is an explosive film; a strongly political piece, its show the hardship, joy and pain of township life, otherwise closed to the world by the Apartheid regime's strict hold. Enriched through Lionel Rogosin’s...

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Classic African Films N°2: ‘Touki Bouki’ by Djibril Diop Mambéty

This is, perhaps, one of my favorite films of all time. A shifting and fragmentary tale of two young lovers — Mory and Anta — and their attempts to flee Senegal for Paris, ‘Touki Bouki’ is Djibril...

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

A BBC Report: “Shell brought me here …”

In a video posted today on BBC News, the BBC’s International Development Correspondent Mark Doyle is shown in a helicopter, bullet proof vest atop of the foreign correspondent’s uniform–the baby-blue shirt, ‘flying low’ over what Doyle describes...

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Soviet cinema and African filmmaking

In a scene from October (1991) – one of Abderrahmane Sissako’s first films – a young West African student named Idrissa crouches to the ground in a Moscow park, and presses a handful of snow against his face. It’s...

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Classic African Films N°1: ‘Xala’ by Ousmane Sembène

We hope to build an archive of reviews of classic films in African cinema to build a resource, but also to help readers learn more about the history of different film cultures on the African continent. Where...

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Film: The talented Tajdin sisters

Filmmaker Amirah Tajdin and her producer sister Wafa Tajdin are currently working on their first feature, titled “Walls of Leila,” and are running a Kickstarter campaign to help launch their production. For two young, clearly talented filmmakers,...

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Documentary: ‘The Price of Kings’

In an astoundingly ambitious new series of 12 feature-length documentaries titled The Price of Kings (available to watch online) the British production company Spirit Level Films challenge the perception of leadership in provocative and imaginative ways. Through...

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Fabrice Muamba and English football

British football isn’t known for its compassion, and it’s already been an explosive season of racist slurs and handshakes denied. But the recent collapse of Fabrice Muamba, a midfielder for Bolton Wanderers, has shown a different side...

Friday, March 16th, 2012

#Kony2012 and British media

To British eyes the polished, high-gloss viral campaign of Invisible Children's 26 minute video--with its high-end production, fast paced edits and expensive motion graphics--clearly favors the grabby style of American political campaign imagery, a style that is...

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Preview: London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

A coincidence? Surely not. At the same time as the Out in Africa festival in South Africa celebrating lesbian and gay film (see earlier post), runs the prestigious London Lesbian and Gay film festival. At this year’s festival,...

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Preview: Out in Africa, South Africa’s Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

Running from March 23 to April 1 in Cape Town and Johannesburg, Out In Africa is a showcase of films addressing the issues that confront those who are ‘out’. It’s a nice play on a colonialist turn of...

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Witchcraft and the British Media

Yesterday, Magalie Bamu and her boyfriend Eric Bikubi, were convicted of killing Magalie’s younger brother Kristy, who was fifteen. Kristy and his two sisters had travelled from Paris to visit his older sister in Newham, East London...

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Africa at the 2012 Berlinale

The London film world (and its media) have been turned to the 2012 Berlinale. As film critics and journalists flock to Germany for the annual festival, complaints about the Teutonic cold are routine, as are the proclamations heralding...

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Film and Johannesburg’s Ponte City

The German writer Norman Ohler described Johannesburg’s Ponte City, Africa’s tallest residential building, thus: “Ponte sums up all the hope, all the wrong ideas of modernism, all the decay, all the craziness of the city. It is...

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