The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
The Fifth Annual AFRICAN DIASPORA FILM FESTIVAL - CHICAGO
ArtMattan Productions and The Facets Cinémathèque are presenting The 5th Annual Chicago African Diaspora Film Festival, which will be held at Facets from June 22-28. This outstanding event will feature a selection of Black Independent Films from around the world for the fifth consecutive year, showcasing U.S. and Chicago premieres. This one-week series will exhibit 13 films, including one U.S. premiere, and five Chicago premieres. The African Diaspora Film Festival is an eclectic mix of foreign, independent, classic and urban films representing the global Black experience through an extraordinary range of subjects and artistic approaches. Created in 1993 by ArtMattan Productions, a company that produces a collection of programs and events promoting Afrocentric theme cultures, ADFF has long been delighting audiences with U.S. and world premieres of independent films, including features, documentaries, animation, and shorts.
The 5th Chicago African Diaspora Film Festival is made possible by the support of ArtMattan Productions and The Facets Cinematheque. The Opening Night of the 5th African Diaspora Film Festival - Chicago is sponsored by the Swiss Benevolent Society of Chicago and the Consulate General of Switzerland in Chicago.
A musical road movie, Youssou N'Dour: Return to Gorée follows Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour's epic journey tracing the trail left by slaves and the jazz music they invented. Youssou N'Dour's challenge is to bring back to Africa a jazz repertoire of his own songs to perform a concert in Gorée, the island that today symbolizes the slave trade and stands to commemorate its victims. From Atlanta to New Orleans, from New York to Bordeaux and Luxembourg, the songs are transformed, immersed in jazz and gospel. Transcending cultural divisions and rehearsing with of some of the world's most exceptional musicians, Youssou N'Dour is preparing to return to Africa for the final concert.
Directed by Pierre-Yves Borgeaud, Switzerland/Luxembourg/Senegal, 2006, BetaSP, 90 mins. In English and French with English subtitles.
The June 22nd screening will be preceded by Opening Night reception at 6 p.m. Tickets for this event are $15.
Fri., June 22 at 7 pm
Thurs., June 28 at 9 pm
SUFFERING AND SMILING
Political dissident, musician, and cultural figure Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Relatives and fellow musicians give accounts of how Nigeria's government harassed Kuti. Includes an account of how his son, Femi Kuti, has become a musician and dissident in his own right.
Directed by Dan Ollman, Nigeria, 2006, 60 mins
There will be a Q&A with director after both screenings.
Fri., June 22 at 9 pm
Sat., June 23 at 5 pm
TASUMA, THE FIGHTER
"Tasuma attests to the vitality of new African filmmakers who, like Abderrahmane Sissako, find cultural meaning in textures and rhythms of everyday exchange." -Variety
"Sanou's leisurely, deliriously barbed Tasuma, the Fighter is a subtle and impressive effort" -Village Voice
"A feisty treat." -Christian Science Monitor
Recommended! "Charming and gentle" -Chicago Reader
Sogo Sanou, a.k.a. Tasuma, is a former French soldier, a part of the African troops better known as tiralleurs senegalais who fought in the French wars in Europe and its colonial territories. He was a soldier in the wars of Indochina and Algeria. Although an honored veteran, Tasuma spends decades painfully waiting for his small pension, an amount that in his native Burkina Faso represents a fortune, even though it will equal only a small fraction of the amount paid to his French counterparts.
Directed by Daniel Kollo Sanou, Burkina Faso, 2003, 35mm, 90 mins. In French and Moré with English subtitles.
Written and directed by its star, Keenon Nikita, Just the Two of Us is an autobiographical drama about a single father struggling to raise a young daughter. Nic, a writer-hopeful finds that he is the father of a two month old infant, Ashley. Never having a close family life of his own, Nic is left to raise the child alone. Eight years later, Nic and Ashly have built a life together but somehow they begin to lose sight of what's important -- each other. Keenon Nikita's labor of love is about the importance of finding yourself through your family.
Directed by Keenon Nikita, U.S.A, 2006, BetaSP, 110 mins. In English.
There will be a Q&A with director after both screenings.
Sat., June 23 at 7 pm
Sun., June 24 at 3 pm
AFRO-LATINO MUSIC PROGRAM Double Feature
SONS OF BENKOS
An entertaining documentary that explores the African culture of Colombia through music. The film presents the music of the Sons of Benkos, one of the most important Black leaders in the fight for freedom during the times of slavery in Colombia. The film also shows the evolution of Afro-Colombian music over time through the fusion of Cuban and contemporary African rhythms with traditional Afro-Colombian music. Directed by Lucas Silva, Colombia/France, 2003, BetaSP, 52 mins. In Spanish with English subtitles.
HANDS OF GOD
The stunning dexterity and mastery of famous Afro-Peruvian percussionist Julio "Chocolate" Algendones are on display in this affectionate documentary about the great master. Afro-Peruvian music is rooted in multiple rhythms coming from Africa. Mixing the traditional and the contemporary, from cajun to jazz, Chocolate composed and played many music styles, taught all over the world and contributed to the creative development of numerous artists, including the dance group Peru Negro. Directed by Delia Ackerman, Peru, 2004, BetaSP, 54 mins. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Sat., June 23 at 9:30 pm
Tues., June 26 at 6:30 pm
Special Jury Prize Venice Film Fes
"Gently and quietly told, steeped in the kind of resigned sorrow that can come after years of hurt and disappointment, it is an unassumingly political work that unfolds with the simplicity of a parable and the gravity of a Bible story." -New York Times
Recommended! "Spare but powerful...Writer-director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Abouna) masterfully escalates tension through his characters' intractable silences." -Chicago Reader
Chad, 2006. The government has granted amnesty to all war criminals. Atim, 16 years old, is given a revolver by his grandfather so that he may kill the man who killed his father... Atim leaves his village for N'djamena, seeking a man he does not know. He quickly locates him: former war criminal Nassara is now married and settled down as the owner of a small bakery... With the firm intention of killing him, Atim gets closer to Nassara under the guise of looking for work, and is hired as an apprentice baker. Intrigued by Atim's attitude toward him, Nassara takes him under his wing and teaches him the secrets of making bread... Over the weeks, a strange relationship evolves between the two. Despite his disgust, Atim seems to recognize in Nassara the father figure he has always needed, while Nassara sees the teenager as a potential son. One day, he suggests adoption...
Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, France/Chad, 2006, BetaSP, 95 mins. In French & Arabic with English subtitles.
Sun., June 24 at 5:30 pm
Wed., June 27 at 7 pm
The Cathedral is a lyrical narration set in the beautiful and unusual setting of Port-Louis, capital of Mauritius. Lina, a young woman with no real ambitions interacts daily with friends and family in a carefree happy manner that will be challenged when one day her dancing catches the eye of a photographer.
Directed by Harrikrisna Anenden, Mauritius, 2006, BetaSP, 78 mins. In Mauritian Creole with English subtitles.
Sun., June 24 at 7:30 pm
First Prize Havana Film Fest
"Maluala...is one of those Cuban films that were forged in a righteous, red-hot ferment but still found the courage and wit to ask questions about the society around them." -Village Voice
Maluala takes us into a palenque, a settlement of escaped slaves hidden somewhere in Cuba's eastern mountains, where discord is sown between black "kings" by clever subversives working for the Spanish government.
Directed by Sergio Giral, Cuba, 1979, BetaSP, 95 mins. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Sun., June. 24 at 9:15 pm
Thurs., June 28 at 9 pm
SIA, THE DREAM OF THE PYTHON
OFFICIAL SELECTION Cannes Film Fest
"Beautiful, in the way that barely mediated emotion is beautiful." -Village Voice
"The source may lie in legend, but the essence of Sia...is political and contemporary" -New York Times
"Kouyate elicits strong performances from his cast, and he delivers a powerful commentary" -New York Post
"Colorful and deceptively buoyant until it suddenly pulls the rug out from under you" -TV Guide
"In the final third the elemental power of his storytelling takes over, pulling together a spellbinding tapestry of motives and dilemmas." -Chicago Tribune
Kombi is a poverty-stricken city dominated by a tyrant king. In order to bring back prosperity, the king is advised by his priests to make the traditional human sacrifice of a young virgin to a mystical snake god. Sia, the most beautiful young woman of the village, has been designated. Lieutenant Mamadi, her fiancé, rebels against the decision to perform this ritual, and the village becomes divided. Struggles and revelations follow as the characters confront issues of honor, corruption and power.
Directed by Dani Kouyaté, Burkina Faso/France, 2001, 35mm, 96 mins. In Bambara with English subtitles.
"A genuinely frightening film which never pulls punches or sugar-coats its plotlines, Fallen Angels Paradise presents a rare, uncensored view of modern Egypt in the boldest cinematic language imaginable...with luck it can help usher in a new wave of North African films into American theaters." -Film Threat
"Fallen Angels Paradise' exudes a randy, robust charm" -New York Times
A homeless man dies of an overdose in a popular Cairo neighborhood. He was once an ideal husband and represented security for his family. Then one day, everything changed. Upon his death, his friends from the underworld drag the corpse around for a whole night of madness, drinking and hallucinating situations. This is a game with death where the dead man becomes more alive than the living and fallen angels live according to their own rules, laws and desires in the chaos of the Egyptian capital. The film is loosely based on the famous short story by Brazilian writer Jorge Amado (The Man who Died Twice, 1961).
Directed by Ossama Fawzi, Egypt, 1999, 35mm, 80 mins. In Arabic with English subtitles.
Set in 18th century Brazil -- at a time when slavery was still at the foundation of the Latin American economy -- this fascinating historical drama is loosely based on the life of Black sculptor/architect Antonio Francisco Lisboa "Aleijadinho," one of the greatest sculptors of Latin America.
Directed by Geraldo Santos Pereira, Brazil, 2001, 35mm, 100 mins. in Portuguese with English subtitles.
Tues., June 26 at 9 pm
FARAW! MOTHER OF THE DUNES
OFFICIAL SELECTION Cannes Film Fest Intl Critics Week
"Cinematographer Yorgos Arvanitis, who works with Greek director Theo Angelopoulos, captures the desert's stupefying vastness, which makes Zamiatou's survival seem all the more heroic -- as do the acidic portrayals of the cynical Europeans who employ native girls for sex." -Chicago Reader
Zamiatou is the mother of two quarrelsome boys and a depressed teenage girl. She is also the wife of a man arrested for political reasons who returns from prison mentally and physically destroyed. She struggles hard to survive in a poor and desolate area. She is ready to face anything to keep the family alive except prostituting her beautiful daughter. Her determination will take her far from her family.Detail by detail, this finely lensed first feature salutes the triumph of human ingenuity over terrible odds. Directed by Abbdoulaye Ascofaré, Mali, 1997, 35mm, 90 mins. In Songhaï with English subtitles.