Once again TAN The Afro News is honoured to preview these great offerings!
Proud Sponsor of The Mask from San
WED. SEP 30, 4:00 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
WED. OCT 7, 6:30 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
A leader of the Egyptian independent film scene, Ahmad Abdalla (Microphone) gets a much bigger budget than usual to fashion this lustrous black-and-white homage to classical Egyptian cinema. Female production designer Maha (Horeya Farghaly finds reality shifting when, instead of working on her current melodrama, she begins to live it… “Shades of Sirk, Cassavetes, Bergman and even Woody Allen can all be detected on the film’s glistening monochrome surface.”—Variety
The Dream of Shahrazad (South Africa/Egypt/Jordan/France/Netherlands)
A beautifully realized paean to art and democracy, set in Istanbul, Cairo, Beirut and Alexandria, South African director François Verster’s ambitious, multilayered documentary combines the tale of Shahrazad (and the 1001 stories she tells) with many other stories of the modern Arab world. From the National Youth Orchestra in Istanbul, to a troupe of actors/storytellers in Cairo, to a lone tapestry artist (amongst many others), Verster’s profoundly secular-humanist work skips back and forth through time and space to weave its own striking tapestry about the modernizing force of art.
Film languages: Arabic, Turkish and English.
Ayanda and the Mechanic (South Africa)
In a Johannesburg community, 21-year-old Afro-hipster Ayanda (the captivating Fulu Moguvhani) fights to keep alive her late father’s legacy–his car-repair garage. Sara Blecher’s (Otelo Burning) multicultural, colourful and vibrant drama captures the “Afropolitan” nature of the new South Africa. “Absolutely worth seeing for its representation of a modern African story, which is uniquely, distinctively African, but also urban, fresh, and contemporary…”—Indiewire Film languages: Zulu, Sotho, English
Breathe Umphefumlo (South Africa)
Ten years ago, Mark Dornford-May and the Isango Ensemble burst upon the scene with Berlin Golden Bear-winner U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, their stirring adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen. Drawing once again from an operatic source–Puccini’s La bohème–Dornford-May and team bring the Xhosa language and traditional instrumentation to a Cape Town-set tragedy focusing on the doomed love of university student Lungelo (Mhlekazi Mosiea) for the tuberculosis-stricken Mimi (Busisiwe Ngejane).
Thina Sobabili: The Two of Us (South Africa) Mixing theatricality, naïveté, innocence and shocking violence in the distinctive way that permeates many films coming from black South Africans (see Breathe Umphefumlo), Ernest Nkosi’s realistic treatment of a teenage brother and sister struggling to carve out an existence in the Alexandra township of Johannesburg is tender and tragic by turns. An extraordinarily plaintive score adds another dimension to this heartfelt debut.
The Boda Boda Thieves (Uganda/South Africa/Kenya/Germany) Conceived as an homage to the classic Bicycle Thieves, Donald Mugisha and James Tayler’s unsparing look at life on the streets of Kampala–neorealism “with a youthful edge” in their words–is anchored in the story of Abel, 15, who takes over his father’s motorcycle taxi (the “boda boda” of the title) and is immediately confronted by a corrupt world where a wrong turn, vehicular or otherwise, can have drastic consequences. “Poignant as well as entertaining.”–Indiewire Film language: Luganda
In Simon Rouby’s evocative animated feature, a 12-year-old West African boy tracks his older brother’s journey from village to port, to troop carrier and on to the war-torn fields of France, 1914. Despite the chaos, he clings to the hope that his brother can be returned home safely. Reminiscent of War Horse in its knack for conjuring fresh perspectives on well-trodden ground, this gorgeous fable will appeal to teens and pre-teens, as well as their parents and grandparents.
Film language: French
My Friend Victoria (France)
Based on a short story by Doris Lessing, Jean-Paul Civeyrac’s subtle, emotionally resonant drama looks at the life of the titular character in her roles as lover, mother and black woman in modern Paris. When the orphaned Victoria, age 8, is invited into a well-to-do (white) artsy couple’s bourgeois home, her view of the good life sets in motion a chain of events that will reverberate into her adulthood.
The Mask from San (France/Mali)
A long lost African mask is returned to its native Mali, while its keeper (Bakary Sangaré, from Samba Traoré) becomes a kind of ferryman from the world of the west into African civilization. Constructed as an ethnological road movie that progresses into a zone where magic and reality alternate, Jacques Sarasin’s compelling mystery pins the viewer’s attention from the outset and provides detailed insights into the lives and spirituality of everyday Malians.
Circus Without Borders: The Story of Artcirq and Kalabante (USA) Hailing from opposite ends of the Earth, two accomplished acrobats work towards the same goal: to use the art form of circus to instill hope in the youth who languish in the impoverished communities the artists once called home. Nimbly shuttling us between Nunavet and Guinea, Susan Gray’s uplifting documentary invites us to marvel as these men, whose athleticism is only exceeded by their altruism, guide the most marginalized of youth from their first tentative backflips to centre stage at the Vancouver Olympics and Cirque du Soleil.
Film languages: French, English and Inuttitut.
Candy, a strange-looking scrap collector embarks on a surreal epic journey through the post-apocalyptic Ethiopian landscape. There, he confronts himself, his fears and witches, Santa Claus and second generation Nazis. Sci-fi/cult film.
3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets (USA)
One of the most acclaimed documentaries of the year, Marc Silver’s profound and deeply human investigation of the death of Jordan Davis–an innocent black teen who stopped, with friends, at a convenience store and was shot dead by white man Michael Dunn three-and-a-half minutes later–takes uncommon care to reveal the truth with all the nuance that patient, intelligent filmmaking can produce. The effect is unforgettable and, needless to say, tragically timely. We will be honoured to have Jordan Davis’ mother, Lucy McBath, with us at our screenings.
“We’ve come this evening to bring you some joy, happiness, inspiration, and some pos-i-tive vi-brations,” Mavis Staples tells concertgoers at the opening of this irresistible portrait of the irrepressible gospel/soul legend–a vow the movie delivers on. The Staples Singers married gospel and delta blues in the 50s, sang Freedom songs for the civil rights movement in the 60s, and topped the charts with “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There” in the 70s. Interviewees include Bob Dylan and Jeff Tweedy but it’s Mavis’s huge voice that does the real talking.
Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story (USA) Not familiar with Frank Morgan? He was Charlie Parker’s protégé and played with Billie Holiday. His father always said that Frank was “the best sax player in the world. But…” That “but” concealed a multitude of sins: bank robbery, larceny, forgery and burglary. Instead of a career, he had a habit. This music documentary includes fascinating insights into jazz and race in the 50s and is full of historical tidbits, musical lore and interviews with Gary Giddins, Michael Connelly, Ron Carter, Clora Bryant and Delfeayo Marsalis.
A Ballerina’s Tale (USA)
Some ascents to stardom are meteoric. Others are a gruelling marathon. Ballerina Misty Copeland learned early on that not everything comes easily for a teen prodigy. Especially when you’re African-American and racial homogeny is part of ballet’s exclusivity. Nelson George’s inside look at the art and industry of ballet invites us to marvel at Copeland’s courage and grace but question what goes on behind closed curtains. Most importantly, it gives us a real-life heroine to root for with all our hearts. “Inspirational doesn’t begin to describe it.”–Rolling Stone
Source information coutesy of VIFF. For ticket and more information go to: www.viff.org