In February 2017, a/perture launched Black Cinema a/ Journey and each year since we have celebrated the works of Black filmmakers, talent and artists during Black History Month. This year we are choosing to celebrate films from Africa and the African Diaspora and to extend the focus to all of 2021. The African diaspora refers to the many communities of people of African descent dispersed throughout the world as a result of historic movement, including the slave trade. Upcoming programming will include films in our revival cinema as well as new world cinema releases from countries in South and Latin America and Europe.
Eyimofe -This is My Desire (Nigeria, 2021)
A triumph at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, the revelatory debut feature from codirectors (and twin brothers) Arie and Chuko Esiri is a heartrending and hopeful portrait of everyday human endurance in Lagos, Nigeria. Shot on richly textured 16 mm film and infused with the spirit of neorealism, Eyimofe traces the journeys of two distantly connected strangers—Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), an electrician dealing with the fallout of a family tragedy, and Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams), a hairdresser supporting her pregnant teenage sister—as they each pursue their dream of starting a new life in Europe while bumping up against the harsh economic realities of a world in which every interaction is a transaction. From these intimate stories emerges a vivid snapshot of life in contemporary Lagos, whose social fabric is captured in all its vibrancy and complexity.
Screened in theater @ a/perture August 6-12
Stop Filming Us (Chad, 2010)
Run Time: 102 min. Rating: Not rated
Based on the struggle of young people in Goma (Northeastern Congo) against the prevailing Western reporting about war and misery, Stop Filming Us investigates how these Western stereotypes are the result of a skewed balance of power. Stop Filming Us creates a cinematic dialogue between Western perceptions and the Congolese experience of reality. While the Congolese perspective becomes increasingly clearer in the film, questions arise about the perspective of the film itself; is a white director able to make a film about the new Congolese image or is it primarily a story created by his own Western perspective?
Downstream to Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo, 2021) –
Run Time: 89 min. Rating: Not rated
Over six bloody days in June 2000, the Congolese city of Kisangani was the scene of deadly violence between the Ugandan and Rwandan armies. More than 10,000 shells exploded, killing thousands and injuring thousands more.
Since then, victims of the Six-Day War have fought for recognition and compensation. Uganda has been found guilty of war crimes by the International Court of Justice, but the victims remain uncompensated decades later.
Now, they decide to take matters into their own hands. In the first Congolese film to be an official selection Cannes Film Festival, and his country’s national submission to the Academy Awards, acclaimed director Dieudo Hamadi (Mama Colonel, National Diploma, Ladies in Waiting) captures their long journey down the Congo River to voice their claims in capital city of Kinshasa, seeking justice at last.
Please enjoy a very special pre-recorded Q&A hosted by a/perture cinema – join board member Chad Harris, interpretor Guillaume Coly and director Dieudo Hamadi!
Marighella (Brazil, 2021)
Run Time: 155 min. Rating: Not rated
Currently censored in Brazil, Marighella is a new Brazilian action drama set in 1969 based on the life of Afro-Brazilian politician and guerrilla fighter Carlos Marighella. Facing a violent military dictatorship and with little support from a timid opposition, writer-turned-politician Carlos Marighella organizes a resistance movement. Alongside revolutionaries 30 years younger than him and willing to fight, the revolutionary leader opts for action. The film is adapted from the biography Marighella – O Guerrilheiro que Incendiou o Mundo, by Mario Magalhaes. Brazilian musical artist, songwriter, and actor Seu Jorge plays Carlos Marighella.
This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (Lesotho/South Africa, 2021)
Run Time: 117 min. Rating: Not rated
Berlin-based Mosotho filmmaker Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s devastating and hypnotic This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection is already one of the most esteemed African films ever to hit the international festival circuit, earning the Special Jury Prize for Visionary Filmmaking at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, before taking home Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Cinematography at Africa’s Academy Awards.
The late Mary Twala Mhlongo, recognizable from Beyoncé’s blockbuster musical Black Is King, gives a heartbreaking career-capping performance as Mantoa, an 80-year-old woman who has lived in a small Lesotho village for her entire life. While preparing for her own death, she receives word of an accident that has killed her only son, leaving her entirely alone, with only the respect of her community, the traditions of her ancestors, and the courage of her convictions. When her community must relocate to make way for a nearby dam which would flood her family’s burial ground, Mantoa draws a line in the sand and becomes an unlikely political and spiritual leader.
The Mali-Cuba Connection/Africa Mia (Cuba/Mali, 2021)
Run Time: 81 min. Rating: Not rated
In the midst of the Cold War, ten young promising musicians from Mali are sent to Cuba to study music and strengthen cultural links between the two socialist countries. Combining Malian and Afro-Cuban influences, they develop a revolutionary new sound and become the iconic ensemble ‘Las Maravillas de Mali’. New Year’s Eve 2000. Richard Minier, a French music producer meets a former member of the band in Bamako and decides to bring the band back together.
with the support of UniFrance
Everything: The Real Thing Story (United Kingdom, 2021)
Run Time: 94 min. Rating: Not rated
Dubbed “the black Beatles” by the British tabloids, the four lads from Liverpool recount their incredible story from the tough streets of Toxteth to the bright lights of New York. A journey of international stardom as Britain’s pioneering million-selling soul and funk band. Against a backdrop of prejudice and political turmoil in the 1970s, The Real Thing were the first all-black British band to hit #1 in the UK pop charts.
You Will Die at Twenty (Sudan, 2021)
Run Time: 103 mins. Rating: Not rated
Sudan’s Official Submission to the Academy Awards
Winner of the Lion of the Future Award for best Debut Feature at the Venice Film Festival, YOU WILL DIE AT TWENTY is visually sumptuous “coming-of-death” fable. During her son’s naming ceremony, a Sheikh predicts that Sakina’s child will die at the age of 20. Haunted by this prophecy, Sakina becomes overly protective of her son Muzamil, who grows up knowing about his fate. As Muzamil escapes Sakina’s ever-watchful eye, he encounters friends, ideas and challenges that make him question his destiny. Sudan’s first Oscar submission, YOU WILL DIE AT TWENTY is an auspicious debut and a moving meditation on what it means to live in the present.
The Story of Lover’s Rock (United Kingdom, 2011)
Run Time: 96 min. Rating: Not rated
Lovers Rock, often dubbed ‘romantic reggae’ is a uniquely black British sound that developed in the late 70s and 80s against a backdrop of riots, racial tension and sound systems. Live performance, comedy sketches, dance, interviews and archive shed light on the music and the generation that embraced it. Lovers Rock allowed young people to experience intimacy and healing through dance- known as ‘scrubbing’- at parties and clubs. This dance provided a coping mechanism for what was happening on the streets. Lovers Rock developed into a successful sound with national UK hits and was influential to British bands (Police, Culture Club, UB40) These influences underline the impact the music was making in bridging the multi-cultural gap that polarized the times. The film sheds light on a forgotten period of British music, social and political history.
Bamako (Mali, 2006)
Run Time: 117 min. Rating: Not rated
Remastered in HD!
An extraordinary trial is taking place in a residential courtyard in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. African citizens have taken proceedings against such international financial institutions as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whom civil society blames for perpetuating Africa’s debt crisis, at the heart of so many of the continent’s woes. As numerous trial witnesses (schoolteachers, farmers, writers, etc.) air bracing indictments against the global economic machinery that haunts them, life in the courtyard presses forward. Melé, a lounge singer, and her unemployed husband Chaka are on the verge of breaking up; a security guard’s gun goes missing; a young man lies ill; a wedding procession passes through; and women keep everything rolling – dyeing fabric, minding children, spinning cotton, and speaking their minds.
Mandabi (Senegal, 1968)
Run Time: 91 min. Rating: Not rated
This second feature by Ousmane Sembène was the first movie ever made in the Wolof language—a major step toward the realization of the trailblazing Senegalese filmmaker’s dream of creating a cinema by, about, and for Africans. After jobless Ibrahima Dieng receives a money order for 25,000 francs from a nephew who works in Paris, news of his windfall quickly spreads among his neighbors, who flock to him for loans even as he finds his attempts to cash the order stymied in a maze of bureaucracy, and new troubles rain down on his head. One of Sembène’s most coruscatingly funny and indignant films, Mandabi—an adaptation of a novella by the director himself—is a bitterly ironic depiction of a society scarred by colonialism and plagued by corruption, greed, and poverty.
A Screaming Man (Chad, 2010)
Run Time: 102 min. Rating: Not rated
Adam, a 60-something former swimming champion, is a pool attendant at a hotel in Chad. When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job to his son, Abdel, leaving Adam humiliated and resentful. Meanwhile the country is in the throes of civil war. Rebel forces attack the government while the authorities demand the population to contribute to the “war effort,” with money or volunteers old enough to fight. The District Chief constantly harasses Adam for his contribution. But Adam is penniless; he only has his son. In a moment of weakness, Adam makes a decision that he will forever regret.