AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

FILM

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Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The Redemption Trope in South African Cinema

Come Back Africa (dir. Lionel Rogosin), Mapantsula (dir. Oliver Schmitz) and Tsotsi (dir. Gavin Hood) mark three distinct eras in South African cinema. The oldest of the three, Come Back Africa, shot secretly in the late 1950s, shows the routine violence of the apartheid state. The viewer experiences the monotony of social exclusion through the

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

James Matthews being James Matthews

The film, Diaries of a Dissident Poet, follows poet James Matthews around Cape Town, tracking him during a year, from his 83rd to 84th birthday. It opens with a small celebration of his 83rd at the District...

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

5 Questions for a Filmmaker … Akin Omotoso

Award-winning South African/Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotoso is the director of the feature films “Man on Ground” and “God Is African“, the documentaries “Wole Soyinka – Child of the Forest,” “Gathering the Scattered Cousins” and the short “Jesus...

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Live from Grahamstown

Every winter, for 11 days in early July,  the sleepy South African college town of Grahamstown comes alive with art. Artists from all over the world swarm to the tiny town, and every nook and cranny is packed...

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

The film about the small businessman who took on the bread cartel

“Crumbs–Toppling the Bread Cartel” is the inside story of a Cape Town businessman, Imraahn Mukaddam’s fight for social justice and the personal cost of blowing the whistle on corporate greed.  To fill you in: in late 2006...

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Film Review: “The Good Man” and relegating good intentions to the dustbin

In Chicago literary scholar Lauren Berlant’s formulation, cruel optimism describes an object of desire that is, in her words, “actually an obstacle to your flourishing.” This optimism becomes cruel, she explains, “when the object that draws your...

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Shooting Lagos

In February of 2013, I made a hurried decision to head to Lagos, in an attempt to shoot a pilot season for My Africa Is,  an ongoing web documentary series, that aims to dispute the one dimensional...

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Pretoria’s Forgotten Hip-Hop Scene

In 2010, documentary filmmaker Sara Chitambo packed up five years’ worth of life in Cape Town and relocated to the eGoli, ePitori to be precise. Among her long list of priorities was to immerse herself the Pretoria...

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Film: Guerilla-Core or Militant Image? On Göran Olsson’s ‘Concerning Violence’

How do you tell a story about African liberation through the lens of an outsider? Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense, the 2014 documentary by Swedish filmmaker Göran Olsson, attempts to answer this question through presenting...

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Film: Vivian Maier’s 100,000 photographs

Vivian Maier, the nanny turned street photographer, who has found fame posthumously, now a subject of the documentary ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (trailer below), was a recluse in the exaggerated form.  With a recluse like the film director,...

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Why we made a film about the images and myths that cast a continent as a victim

We’re making the documentary film, FRAMED, because we recognize a lot of Americans want to do good in Africa, with the best of intentions, but the way they go about it often doesn’t play out well for...

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Review: The Square by Jehane Noujaim

The 16th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival opened on Wednesday with The Square, Jehane Noujaim’s documentary about the Egyptian Revolution. The film (available in the US on Netflix) holds the title of being the first Egyptian...

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Louis Henderson’s delicate journey through a real and virtual contemporary Ghana

Lettres du Voyant is a 40 minutes film made by Louis Henderson, a British filmmaker and artist. I met him during a dinner at Berlinale Talents last January, we had a fast chit-chat and after a couple...

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Adam Sandler’s “Africa” (late night TV talk shows can’t get enough of it)

Just based on the trailer alone, it was safe to predict that “Blended,” the comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore about two single parents who after a dismal first date, magically end up on vacation at the...

Friday, May 30th, 2014

“Miners Shot Down;” a haunting and emotional documentary

When Mzoxolo Magidiwana, a miner from Marikana in South Africa’s Northwest Province, traces his family lineage of miners at Lonmin Mines, he invokes in me memories of how I narrowly escaped becoming a miner, breaking the lineage...

Friday, May 30th, 2014

What’s in the future for Lamu on Kenya’s Coast

Lamu Old Town is an ancient, bustling city of palm trees and artisans and stories, where trades and traditions are passed down from generation to generation largely unchanged. Acting as a trading hub for centuries, the archipelago’s...

Monday, May 26th, 2014

‘Aya of Yop City’: Graphic Novel to Film

“Aya of Yop City” is Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie’s first feature film and an adaptation of the couple’s best-selling graphic novel series of the same name. Like the graphic novels, the film tells the story of Aya, a...

Monday, May 26th, 2014

The Fader goes to Cape Town

So I’ve been following the Sprite Obey You Collective video series on The Fader website. They have been profiling some young South Africans doing great things. I liked the idea. I saw the Okmaloomkat clip. I liked...

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

A new film is all about DSK’s naked belly; Nafissatou Diallo as minor prop

Three years ago, New York was gripped by the legal battle between then-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the woman who accused him of rape—she turned out to be the maid, who had come in to clean his...

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

How much has really changed on South Africa’s wine farms?

Sixty five years ago, Margaret Bourke-White traveled to South Africa, and spent some time in what are today known as the Worcester winelands, in the Western Cape. According to South African Tourism, still today “the largest wine...

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Nollywood in Paris

The Nigerian Diaspora has always been the main vehicle of Nollywood’s expansion, namely in cities like London, New York and Toronto among other places. The city of Paris on the other hand, was not included in this and...

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Everybody needs good neighbours (except “those Nigerians”)

Vocativ, is what some trust for a news source in the United States. An American news-aggregator accessing the ‘deep web’ for information in a bid to report the world in slick packaging that uses dramatic music and...

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

‘In Search of Freedom’ (in the Democratic Republic of Congo)

“in SEARCH of FREEDOM” is a monthly video journal filmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, offering a glimpse of my quest in the motherland with other afro-european artists such as Badi and Monique Mbeka Phoba. EDITION...

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

‘The incredible amount of similarities between Colombia and South Africa’

A small group of Colombians expatriates who have been living for several years in Johannesburg and Cape Town organized the first all-Colombian film festival in South Africa: SUR. The festival’s name translates as ‘south’ in Spanish. According to their organizers,...

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Lupita Nyong’o and the Mexicans

“How much does the Oscar belong to Mexico?” a reporter asked actress Lupita Nyong’o the day after the 2014 Academy Awards. Her answer “It all belongs to me.” A few months earlier, when “12 Years a Slave” premiered at...

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Intimacy in Africa (on film)

When Hollywood does Africa, there's little in the romance and love department, unless it's about Karin Blixen making ill-fated choices (in white colonial men) or some random family who move to Africa and fall in love with...

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

There is more to Lesotho than blankets, mountains and horse rides

“The Forgotten Kingdom,” the new feature film by American director Andrew Mudge, depicts the story of a rebellious young man called Atang, toiling in inner city Johannesburg. When Atang’s father, living elsewhere in a Joburg township, passes away,...

Friday, April 11th, 2014

‘Films to fall asleep to’: Are development agencies derailing the film industry in Tanzania?

Smooth camera work. Masterful writing. Clear audio. Linear narratives. There are plenty of people who watch Hollywood films and think that their local films could look and feel more like the productions that grace movie theatres across...

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Can forgiveness that is mandated by a government be genuine?

Reviewer Neil Genzinger (in The New York Times) writes about the new documentary film, "Coexist" (to be shown on US public television this month) about post-genocide Rwanda, 20 years later. The film, according to Genzinger, "... at...

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Africa is a Country Video: George Khosi’s Hillbrow Boxing Club

It used to be an old gas station. In the area where car owners once filled their tanks an elevated boxing ring now stands. Fraying rope holds the still sturdy structure together as George Khosi instructs his...

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