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Global Visions

African Film Festival

During the past thirty years, African filmmaking has become as diverse as the continent from which it springs. History and politics provide the impetus for themes such as previously suppressed critiques of colonialism, post-independence corruption, chronicles of "tribal" customs, and visions of contemporary society. But African filmmakers also draw from the springs of myth, fantasy, humor, and magic to nurture a narrative sensibility in which tradition and modernity meet up on screen. In order to make the unique experience of watching African cinema available to a wider audience, the African Film Festival, a non-profit arts organization based in New York, organizes an annual touring film series which we are proud, once again, to host here in the Boston area.

The African Film Festival Traveling Series has been organized by the African Film Festival, Inc., in association with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This series has been made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

April 12 (Wednesday) 9 pm
April 14 (Friday) 9 pm

Mortu Nega

Directed by Flora Gomes
Guinea-Bissau 1988, 35mm, color, 85 min.
With Bya Gomes, T. Eugenio Almada, Mamadu Uri Balde
Portuguese/Creole with English subtitles

Mortu nega, literally "the one death did not want," is a term that originally referred to a child who survives his stillborn siblings, but has come to symbolize the survivors of the fight for Guinea-Bissau’s independence. Set in 1973, the story follows Dominga as she journeys to join her husband, Sako, a liberation fighter. While her path to the front reveals the ravages of five centuries of colonialism, her return home promises to be set amidst the joy of hard-won freedom.

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April 14 (Friday) 7 pm
April 16 (Sunday) 6 pm


Directed by Moussa Toure
Senegal 1997, 35mm, color, 90 min.
With Makena Diop, Bernard Giraudeau, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu
French and Wolof with English subtitles

TGV is an express bus service between Dakar, Senegal, and Conakry, Guinea, operated by the enterprising Rambo and his assistant, Dembo. Before setting off, Rambo and his passengers are warned of the danger that lies ahead on their route. The Bassari are carrying out a revolt at the Guinea border, leading to an exodus of refugees from their villages. On hearing the news, only a dozen or so passengers decide to make the risky trip. During the arduous journey, each passenger’s motivation for making the trip is slowly revealed. The fear of impending danger catalyzes the formation of relationships and clashes among this volatile assortment of passengers.

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April 15 (Saturday) 4 pm

The Foreigner

Directed by Zola Maseko
South Africa 1997, 35mm, color, 17 min.
With Bafana Maquta, Zwilibanzi Moyo, Stanford Nkosi
Zulu with English subtitles

Koffi has arrived in town. Turned away by the neighborhood residents, he befriends a homeless child. Their friendship grows amidst the hustle and bustle of street activity, despite the hostility and aggression directed at the foreigner.

April 15 (Saturday) 4 pm

Colis Postal (Parcel Post)

Directed by Joseph Kumbela
Republic of Congo 1996, 35mm, color, 10 min.
With Hubert Baker, Abiba Diarra
French with English subtitles

Isidore, an African living in Paris, is worried because his fiancée, his "parcel post," has just arrived from Abidjan. He reveals to his best friend, Martin, his heart-wrenching dilemma: while he loves Esperance, he doesn’t know how to tell her that he is HIV positive.

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April 15 (Saturday) 4 pm

L'Étranger Venu D'Afrique (The Stranger from Africa)

Directed by Joseph Kumbela
Republic of Congo 1998, 35 mm, color, 13 min.
Chinese with English subtitles

A young Chinese woman returns home at the end of the day to find her boyfriend, Lulu, a young African student, awaiting her. Set against the backdrop of Beijing, the film explores the cultural differences between the two lovers, which provoke conflict, misunderstanding, and the voyeuristic interest of others.

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April 15 (Saturday) 4 pm

O Clandestino

Directed by Jose Laplaine
Zaire/Angola 1997, 35mm, b/w, 15 min.
With António Pires, Jose Laplaine, António Costa
Portuguese with English subtitles

When an Angolan stowaway lands in Lisbon, he learns that the Europe of his dreams may not be the paradise he had imagined. Forced constantly to evade a persistent police officer, he begins to long for his homeland. His adventures lead him to realize that for an African, Europe provides no escape from hardship.

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April 15 (Saturday) 7 pm
April 16 (Sunday) 8 pm

Comédia Infantil

Directed by Solveig Nordlund
Sweden/Mozambique 1997, 35mm, color, 92 min.
With Sergio Titos, Joao Manja, Adelyno Branquinho
Portuguese/Creole with English subtitles

Adapted from a Swedish novel that employs poetic drama to illuminate and humanize difficult social issues, this film is a touching account of the hardships faced by a young boy, Nélio, during Mozambique’s civil war. After losing his family during a raid on his village, Nélio manages to escape from a training camp for young soldiers. Upon reaching the capital, he becomes the leader of a group of street children who believe he has the power to cure diseases. His burgeoning reputation as a healer, however, cannot shield him from the brutality of war.

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April 15 (Saturday) 9 pm

Battle of the Sacred Tree

Directed by Wanjiru Kinyanjui
Kenya/Germany 1995, 35mm, color, 82 min.
With Margaret Nyacheo, Catherine Kariuki, Roslynn Kimani,
English and Kikuyu

Freely based on the short story by Barbara Kimenye, Battle of the Sacred Tree focuses on the conflict between traditional African beliefs and missionary zeal in a Kikuyu village. There, life revolves around a sacred tree that exerts a strange power over the members of the community. The Christian ladies come to see the tree as an offensive reminder of a pagan past, but upon her return from the city, Mumbi, daughter of an old-fashioned medicine man, opposes their plan to cut it down. Her Polaroid snapshots of "the most dramatic occasion of the felling of the Sacred Tree" reunite the community in healing laughter.

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