not only do these films help you get a sense of life in whatever particular country or community the film or documentary is in, but it enables a foreigner to learn much more than they would simply by reading about these things. there are subtleties in films that the directors may not even be aware are different from other cultures, but that are noticeable in their films.
i've decided to put all the films in one place. most of them can be found on the internet free, but some i've watched on netflix, and i'll just provide a link to maybe a trailer.
a film about a young boy on the run from his vengeful father, who is out to kill him with the belief that he stole sacred ancestral objects from the family. directed by Souleymane Cisse. Mali.
a comedy. Jamaica
a film about a young boy struggling with his grandmother, who works as what seems like a sharecropper, to make it through school. Martinique.
a film about living during/post-apartheid. i like how this film reiterated the importance music had in the anti-apartheid movement. South Africa
Un Transport En Commun (trailer)
a musical (yes, sound-of-music type musical) about traveling in Dakar. i wasn't really feeling this film because i hate musicals. i think this could have been something if most of the songs didn't sound like something Fred Astaire danced to. Senegal.
Viva Riva (trailer)
a film about a hustler in Kinshasa who just wants a woman, Nora, who's with another man. i liked the film, overall, and from what i hear it's one of the biggest and most expensive films to come out of the DRC. a lot of the film, however, i felt was exaggerated and simply foolish, on the part of Riva, the main character. there's a difference in being a gangsta and being reckless. he was absurdly reckless during the majority of the film. in addition, i wasn't too keen about the fact that the only woman not portrayed as a whore (although there isn't anything wrong with being a whore, we know that this society and most of the world have a different perspective) was Nora, the love interest, who also happens to be the only light-skinned person in he film. coincidence? Democratic Republic of Congo.
a film about a group of Berbers who go fight Germans (Nazis) on behalf of the French during WWII. Algeria.
La Teta Asustada (The Milk of Sorrow)
although this is from Mexico, i wanted to include it because i found it interesting. the film is about a girl, Fausta, who inherits susto through her mother's breastmilk. susto is a culture-bound syndrome most common in Latin American countries that results from a near-death or extremely frightening experience. Mexico.
an Alex Haley original about his paternal history. US.
a light-hearted film about a young man from a small village trying to attend college in the city. South Africa.
Faat Kine (trailer)
a film about an independent woman trying to raise her kids and stave off encouragement to get married. directed by the father of African film, Ousmane Sembene. Senegal.
Karmen Gei (trailer)
a reinterpretation of George Biznet's 'Carmen'. Senegal.
Black Girl is a film by the late, great Father of African Film, Ousmane Sembene, about a Senegalese woman who moves to Europe as a nanny to make money. this isn't my favorite film of his (the ending was a little...meh), but still a must-see. the visuals of this are on a level most films (African or otherwise) aren't on. i think the artistry of film, especially in the US, is lack with the exception of the underground. this film brings it on multiple levels. Senegal.
recommended to me by my homegirl, Yvette, this is about a wealthy man with two wives whose just gotten married to a third. he realizes he's impotent and seeks the traditional healer so he can please his newest (and youngest) wife. he finds out it isn't impotence, but a curse, and has to do much more to remove the curse than he'd anticipated. Senegal.
Ousmane Sembene delivers once more in a film of a troop of soldier who've come back from helping France defend France's long standing thieving and barbarous empire...and await their return to Senegal in addition to their severance pay. they find out the hard way that even respect would be hard to come by, considering they're Black- whether or not they've put their lives on the line for the country. Senegal.
a film about a young boy trying to make it in the city of Luanda. Angola.
a film about a young man trying to make it in the music scene. starring Jamaican musician, Jimmy Cliff. Jamaica.
a documentary about Akan ancestral beliefs. it goes into the importance of keeping the beliefs of your ancestors as well as keeping your ancestors venerated. Ivory Coast.
a documentary about living in the aftermath of independence. Cameroon.
Re-Emerging: The Jews of Nigeria (trailer)
a documentary that has yet to be released about Nigerians who follow Judaism. most of those in the film are under the impression that Igbos are a lost tribe of Israel, and thus have, at some point in history, been Jews or were the true Jews. Nigeria.
cameras follow 3 students attempting to get into one of the best colleges in Brazil. the school is one of the first in Brazil to implement affirmative action in their school system. although Brazil is about 50% Black, Blacks make up less than 5% of universities, government, or academia and most live in poverty. it details how Brazil is handling the transition. in a country whose racial lines weren't drawn as sharply as in the US, who classifies as "Black"? Brazil.
Al Jazeera takes a look into human safaris on the Andaman Islands. the Jawara people, a group believed to be direct descendants of the first travelers out of Africa hundreds of a years ago, and natives to the Andaman Islands, they have become a tourist attraction of many locals from India and Sri Lanka. the local authorities came under fire sometimes last year when a video went viral of Andaman police making Jawara women dance in exchange for food. they've also been known to lead tours to the areas the Jawara live-which are off main roads and away from larger towns. it gives a better look into the age-old practice of looking at people of color, specifically Black people, as animals fit best for zoo attractions and entertainment. it also, for me, reiterates the fact that Africans have been travelling by land and sea for eons prior to colonialism to parts of the Earth that may seen unfathomable even today. Andaman Islands.
a look into the Nigeria-Biafra war that lasted from 1967-1970. Nigeria.
a reblog from this blog-a documentary about a Black music festival in LA that also goes into the Black experience of the time. US.
a documentary about Bougainville Natives epitomizing independence and sovereignty. after being cut off from trade by the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Island governments for wanting to govern themselves and keep their island from being the next western wasteland, they were forced to go it alone and have made out beautifully. they have gathered all their resources and should be looked at as the blueprint for what all nations have to/should do in order to leave be truly free of western powers. Bougainville.
a film that delves into the lives of gay Black men. it shows the intersection of two very oppressed existences of Black and gay. directed and produced by Marlon Riggs, this film not only tell us about what it means to be same-sex loving in the US, but also about typical ideals, stereotypes, and issues our society has with thoughts on masculinity and gender. US.
a detailed look at the Anglo-Zulu war of the late 1800's. South Africa.
a look into various methods of enslavement post-(supposed) emancipation. convict-leasing and sharecropping are two widely known forms. one guy mention in the film, BB Comer, has a building on my college campus named after him (yea, still). US.
a documentary about the genocide of Namibians in the early 1900's by Germany. the genocide is estimated to have taken 3/4 the Herero population and 1/2 the Nama population. Namibia.
Bruce Parry, a BBC tv show host, experiences some rituals of the Babongo people. Gabon.
this documentary goes into the Nigerian music scene like no other that details acts like King Sunny Ade and Fela Kuti. Nigeria.
comment. think. watch.