New York African Film Festival

The Woman Alone, 2004

During the Q&A for The Woman Alone, Brahim Fritah explained that his original shooting strategy of concealing the subject, Akosse Legba’s face by filming only fragments of her body along with the empty rooms of her (former) employer/owner’s luxury apartment and images from her impoverished village in Togo, was designed after Legba had requested anonymity… read more »

The Hero, 2004

Each day, a decorated war veteran and landmine victim named Vitório, having been discharged from the military after the government issued troop demobilization orders at the end of the 30 year civil war, waits in the wings of an overcrowded, physical rehabilitation hospital to see if his petition for a prosthetic leg has finally been… read more »

Sex, Gumbo and Salted Butter, 2008

Similar to Pierre Yameogo’s Me and My White Pal, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s crisp, lighthearted satire Sex, Gumbo and Salted Butter reflects on the challenges posed by dislocation, estrangement, and cultural assimilation. For old-fashioned family patriarch and Malian expatriate, Malik (Marius Yelolo), the belated culture shock of immigrating to Bordeaux comes when his attractive, much younger wife,… read more »

Hotel of Dreams, 2005

As a poor, underprivileged Catholic boy growing up in Senegal, Jeannot fondly recalls his family’s trips to the idyllic, coastal village of Popenguine where, on the day of the Pentecost, Senegalese Christians would descend en masse to the village on an annual pilgrimage to the site where the miracle of a Virgin Mary sighting had… read more »

Keita, The Heritage of the Griot, 1995

One day, in the rural village of Wagadu, a slumbering griot (traditional tale-teller) named Djéliba is visited by the spirit of an ancient hunter and oracle as he recounts in his dreams the legend of a tribesman on the dawn of civilization who rose up and proclaimed himself king of Mandé with the neutral consent… read more »

La Blessure/The Wound, 2004

The Wound (La Blessure) opens to an unhurried, long take, static shot of a man lying near motionless on the mattress on the floor of a cramped, dingy apartment, seemingly waiting for something to happen. The ringing of a telephone breaks the visual monotony of the frame as a man named Papi (Adama Doumbia) crosses… read more »

NYAFF Short Films: Women of Zimbabwe

Spell My Name, 2005 In the opening sequence of Tawanda Gunda Mupengo’s Spell My Name, a self-assured schoolteacher from the city, newly arrived into the village school and appearing immediately out of place in the rural farming community in her sharply tailored dress, encounters an introverted girl under a tree who ignores her request for… read more »

Toi, Waguih, 2005

Composed of a series of informal conversations between screenwriter Namir Abdel Messeeh and his reticent, introspective father, Waguih, a reformed Communist and former political prisoner during the early years of the Egyptian Republic, Toi, Waguih evokes Chantal Akerman’s recurring theme of parental silence – a silence of personal history borne of unarticulated trauma (in the… read more »

Max and Mona, 2004

During the introductory remarks for Max and Mona, filmmaker Teddy Mattera indicated that the inspiration for the film came from two parallel thoughts: a romanticization of death stemming from the traditional belief that the souls of the recently deceased are not able to cross over to the spiritual realm unless their passing has been properly… read more »

Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon, 2005

Khalo Matabane expounds on the cross-cultural interrogations of post-apartheid society in his previous film, Story of a Beautiful Country with Conversations on a Sunday Afternoon, a thoughtful, insightful, and articulate melding of fiction and documentary on the changing landscape of new South African society as a result of continental (and international) immigration, refugeeism, and exile…. read more »