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 2006 AFRICAN TRAVELING FILM FESTIVAL
Weekends, March 11-April 16
The Facets Cinémathèque is very proud to present the annual African Traveling Film Festival Series which is designed to bring the unique experience of watching African cinema to the broadest possible audience. In the 1950s and '60s, African filmmakers began to create images of post-colonial Africa with nuanced understanding of Africa's cultural diversity. Over the last half a century, African cinema has become a unique blend of aesthetic experimentation, history, and politics. As African nations have constructed modern identities from traditional and colonial experiences, the role of visual culture in communicating these new transitional identities is relevant for audiences around the world. The impetus for themes such as colonialism, post-independence corruption, and chronicles of "tribal" customs often erupts from the ironies of contemporary life. The oral traditions, unique pacing, and non-linear style of African story-telling have in fact become classifying characteristics of African filmmaking. This kind of art is a powerful intellectual and emotional force for social change. As Western consumer culture has influenced global society, so it has been invigorated by the differing sensibilites, traditions, and styles of other cultures. Likewise, African film has evolved from its early exploration of colonialism into a new, diasporic, and international consciousness. The Traveling Series provides access to a neglected part of international film culture and supports African films often overlooked by distributors but which are deserving of larger audiences.
The African Film Festival Traveling Series has been organized by African Film Festival, Inc. We wish to thank Mahen Bonetti, director, and Aba Taylor, program administrator, AFF, Inc.
"A droll film that knows how to turn the tragic into candid satire." -Libération
"This likeable first directing effort by Imunga Ivanga has a laid-back authenticity missing from more dramatized tales of African youth" -Variety
Libreville is home to Mougler and his teenage friends. The boys, always strapped for cash, decide to rob a dole stand, a new kind of instant lottery. The stakes are high, but so is the risk and Mougler, who is increasingly worried by his mother's illness, decides to go ahead with the holdup.
Directed by Imunga Ivanga, Gabon, 1999, 35mm, 92 mins. In French with English subtitles.
THE COLONIAL MISUNDERSTANDING
(LE MALENTENDU COLONIAL)
"[Filmmaker Jean-Marie] Teno is surely one of the freshest talents in African cinema today." -Film Comment
"One hears the voice of Africa expressing itself in the first person and taking the risk of its subjectivity, without using the excuse of poverty or relying on folklorism. This is, above all, very courageous." -Libération
The Colonial Misunderstanding is a bold exploration of Germany's "African past" - specifically, its attempts to colonize parts of Africa through religion and trade. Filmmaker Jean-Marie Teno looks at the role that missionaries played in establishing the groundwork for colonialism in countries like Togo, Cameroon, Namibia and South Africa. The later crimes of the Nazi regime were actually anticipated by Germany's genocidal war against the Herrero people in Namibia (1904-1907), which forcibly dispersed them and interned them in concentration camps. Through interviews with experts from Germany and Africa, filmmaker Teno paints a provocative picture of the relatively short but nevertheless horrific colonial history of Germany in Africa.
Directed by Jean-Marie Teno, Cameroon, 35mm, 2004, 78 mins. In English, French, and German with English subtitles.
"A pointed assessment of the Senegalese nation" -Chicago Reader
Based on a novel by Ousmane Sembene, Niiwam recounts the travails of a young couple's attempt to save the life of their infant son, who is gravely ill. Unable to find a cure in their village, Thierno and his wife take him to a city hospital, only to discover that the "blessings" of modern life has caused a degradation of even the most basic human relationships. The film avoids sentimentalization, seeing its main characters as tragic examples of much larger, social problems. As their struggle mounts, Thierno takes a bus trip across the city, only to be a caught in a more desperate situation. Director Clarence Delgado, who has worked as Sembene's assistant, effectively updates the quiet yet powerful style of Sembene's own early work. This debut filmmaker does not allow the simplicity of his story to detract from its harrowing and immediate call for humanity.
Directed by Clarence Thomas Delgado, Senegal, 1991, BetaSP, 80 mins. In Wolof and French with English subtitles.
June 1960. The Belgian Congo is on the eve of Independence. A young Congolese boxer, Samwa, and his older brother, Nourou, arrive in Brussels for the final of the Afro-European Middleweight Championship to fight against the Belgian title holder. Looking to avoid a Congolese victory, the Belgian organizers order Samwa to "dive" to the floor during the final. Nourou believes that this is an opportunity for Belgian passports and a chance to escape their miserable lives for good, but Samwa has other ideas...
Directed by Daniel Cattier, Zimbabwe/Belgium, 2004, BetaSP, 18 mins. In Lingala & French with English subtitles.
Papa Segun is in dire straits; his business is not going well, creditors are at his doorstep and now the bank wants to repossess his home. Meanwhile he gets the feeling that his children are growing up without his notice. His wife urges him to get a loan from his younger brother, a rising member of the state political machine, who is coming to dinner that evening. Papa Segun is not keen on humbling himself before his more successful kid brother but as the day draws to a close, he is left with fewer and fewer options.
Directed by Seke Somolu, Nigeria, 2004, BetaSP, 16 mins. In Yoruba and English with English subtitles.
Bè Kunko depicts the spiral of violence that a group of teenagers fall into as they struggle to survive from day-to-day in a Guinean refugee camp in the capital of Conakry. Little by little, we discover the teenagers' daily lives. John and Tom go from burglary to armed robbery, while Satou and Dady end up in prostitution. As time goes by, the gap widens between Tom, who revels in an extreme violence, and John, who is violent because that's the only way to survive, but who nonetheless struggles to build himself a "normal" life again. Despite the love and attention she showers on them, seventy-year-old Mémé, their grandmother, who is a refugee too, can do nothing to save John, Tom, Satou and Dady from this infernal spiral.
Directed by Cheick Fantamady Camara, Guinea, 2004, BetaSP, 30 mins. In French and Malinka with English subtitles.
SAFI, THE LITTLE MOTHER
(SAFI, LA PETITE MORE)
When her mother died at birth, Safi, eight years, was found with new born on the arms, fleeing her village where, according to the tradition, the baby must be sacrificed in order to be joined together to his mother and to thus draw aside the bad fate of the village. Having taken refuge in the large city, Safi is found with a double problem of survival, for both herself and her brother. Despite hardships however, Safi finds solidarity and the compassion of a family. In addition, the value of the market will also be transformed into a multitude of moms ready to give their milk to the baby.
Directed by Rasò Ganemtoré, Burkina Faso/Italy/France, 2004, BetaSP, 30 mins. In Moore & French with English subtitles.
Sat.-Sun., Apr. 1-2 at 1 pm
THE GOLDEN BALL
(LE BALLON D'OR)
"An especially appealing tale" -New York Times
Cheik Doukouré's second feature celebrates the powerful dream of becoming an African soccer star, a dream pursued by children in innumerable small villages who play in the dust with bare feet and footballs made of rags. A thoroughly engaging adventure story, The Golden Ball follows Bandian -- a boy-wonder on the soccer field -- from his village in the bush through a series of hilarious and not-so-funny contretemps to superstardom in France. He is assisted on his way by his hometown witch doctor (Agnés Soral) who gifts him with a real football (the "golden" ball of the film's title), a dwarf (Aboubacar Koita) who offers him a brother's love, and soccer star Karim.
Directed by Cheick Doukouré, Guinea/France, 1992, BetaSP, 90 mins. In Malinké and French with English subtitles.