Staring tonight! The New York African Film Fest!
The festivals just keep coming around here…tonight marks the start of the New York African Film Festival, a yearly celebration of African cinema. This year’s theme is “Africa in Transition,” and the vibrant offerings explore a multitude of different angles on the continent. The festival is truly a chance to see illuminating movies that you just won’t see anywhere else. A few examples:
Behind the Rainbow goes beyond the headlines about the dissolution of Apartheid in South Africa through the intimate and dramatic story of two political allies turned bitter rivals. Under Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma loyally labored to build a non-racial state. Now their duel threatens the political gains they worked so hard to achieve.
Did you love The Wrestler? Get a totally different take on the underdog sports film with The Fighting Spirit. One town in Africa takes on the world as three boxers–two men and a woman–from a poor slum in Ghana fight their way to the glittering rings of New York and London for the biggest prizes in the business.
The Importance of Being Elegant offers a news lens through which to view the costs of conspicuous consumption. It’s the story of one of the most unusual clubs in the world, the Société des Ambianceurs et Persons Élégants, whose members come from the Democratic Republic of Congo and have elevated fashion to the status of a religion.
Bronx Princess offers a bridge between two cultures via a headstrong 17-year-old girl who leaves her mother, an immigrant from Ghana, to reunite with her father in Africa. An exploration of heritage, family and independence from a personal point of view.
Sex, Okra and Salted Butter is a sharp comedy that tracks black life in Paris via Hortense, a 40-year-old nurse from Cameroon who leaves her very traditional African husband with the responsibility of raising their two kids after she strays into the arms of another man.
Another compelling–and sometimes comedic–look into a turbulent chapter of recent South African history, Triomf tracks a group of poor whites in a housing project just before the 1994 general election.