From the director and singer-actors of the 2005 film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha comes a new “opera” film. Unogumbe/Noye’s Fludde follows the plot of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde work but moves the action from medieval England to present-day South Africa.

Nomads is a musical documentary by Mohamad Hanafi, produced by the Goethe‐Institut’s Sudan Film Factory (also check out the Factory’s other recent work). It tells the story of a group of artist friends working as mechanics in Khartoum. Here’s a trailer:

The starting point for German filmmaker Eva Weber’s Black Out documentary is the “nightly pilgrimage” hundreds of Guinean school children undertake, “searching for light” at the airport, petrol stations and wealthier parts of Conakry. (Here’s a facebook page detailing the power failures in Guinea.) The film has been winning prizes since it started doing the rounds at festivals earlier this year.

Another prize-winning documentary is Dieudonné Hamadi’s first long-feature film, Atalaku (Lingala “The Caller”*), in which Hamadi follows pasteur Gaylor making a living by convincing people in Kinshasa to vote for “his” candidate during the 2011 elections. No (English) trailer yet, but here’s a fragment:

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And also set in Congo is Avec le Vent (With the Wind), a documentary by Belgian researcher Raf Custers about foreign investors who continue to still do pretty much what they want in the Congolese mine industry.

* Footnote on the translation. According to Arizona M. Baongoli’s Lingala Learner’s Dictionary: Lingala-English, English-Lingala (p.5), “atalaku” is “A kind of rapper in Congolese music; a singer who speaks the words during show time while other singers are dancing; e.g. Atalaku Bill Clinto ayebi mosala na ye malamu. (The rapper Bill Clinton knows his work well.) / The term “atalaku” comes from Kikongo language and it means “look here, look at me”. It is derived from the verb “ku-tala” which means to look, to watch, to see. It first appeared in Congolese music in the early 1980s. The term was initially associated with a popular music dance step but later came to refer to the accompanist singer who is in charge of injecting words, yelling and shouting during the second part of a song which consists of a fast paced dance sequence. In French “atalaku” is also known as “animateur”. Some of the very first atalakus were used by Zaiko Langa Langa and later many others followed. Some of the most popular atalakus in recent history include Bill Clinton Kalonji, Juna Mumbafu, etc. Atalakus play a major role in “mabanga” or “dedicates”. That is why they are also known as “mobwaki-ya-mabanga”.”

There you have it. Thanks to Joshua Walker.

Further Reading

Between two evils

After losing its parliamentary majority for the first time, the African National Congress is scrambling to form a coalition government. The options are bleak.

Heeding the call

At the 31st New York African Film Festival, young filmmakers set the stage with adventurous and varied experiments in African cinema.