Nine Years in the Running. AfricAvenir Windhoek Promises Yet Another Great Year of African Cinema

After having completed yet another year of superb African cinema screenings in Namibia, in its 9th consecutive year, AfricAvenir is set to promise a great 2014 for audience in Namibia. The programme presented in 2014, once again curated by Hans-Christian Mahnke, will open with the controversial South African feature “Of Good Report” (2013) by Jahmil Qubeka, followed in February by Kenya’s “Something Necessary” (2013) by Judy Kibinge, dealing with the post-election violence in 2008. nMarch will see the Tunisian film “The Professor” (2012), by Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud, which highlights the human rights violations experienced in the 1970ies, tearing the personal life of supporter of the political establishment apart. In April, on the occasion of the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide in 2014, AfricAvenir will present Joel Karekezi’s debut film “Imbabazi – The Pardon” (2013), Rwanda.nNewly released, “Dakar Trottoirs” (2013), directed by Hubert Laba Ndao, Senegal, will be the film to watch in May. Angolan audiences can enjoy a film from neighbouring Angola. AfricAvenir will bring Zeze Gamboa’s latest’s feature, “The Great Kilapy” (2012), Angola/Brazil/Portugal, still in the first half of 2014.
While AfricAvenir will also re-screen some of the films it screened in the past, such as “Baara” (1979), by Souleymane Cisse, Mali, “La Pirogue” (2012), by Moussa Toure, Senegal, “Man on Gorund” (2011), by Akin Omotoso, South Africa/Nigeria, and “Africa Shafted” (2011) by Ingrid Martens, South Africa, the film series in 2014 will mostly consist of Namibian Premieres.  nThe second half of 2014 will bring great feature films such as  “Behind Closed Doors” (2013), by Mohammed Ahed Bensouda, Morocco, dealing with  the theme of sexual harassment, “Hidden Beauties” (2012), by one of the great masters of cinema, Nouri Bouzid, Tunisia, the epic “Toussaint Louverture” (2012), by Phillippe Niang, Haiti/France/Senegal, “Felix” (2013), the feel-good film, something for heart and soul, by Roberta Durrant, South Africa, and hopefully one of the films  by Nigerian director Andrew Dosunmu, be it “Restless City” (2011), or “Mother of George” (2013). nSome documentaries will also be shown, such as “Thomas Sankara” (1993), by Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda, DRC, “Ceux de la Colline” (2010), by Berni Goldblat, Burkina Faso, and “Sodiq” (2013), by Adeyemi Micheal, Nigeria/UK.nDirector of AfricAvenir, Hans-Christian Mahnke, says: “I think the program as social and political commentary is clear. The destinies of the individual characters are the microcosm, but the macrocosm is the destiny of modern Africa. The tragedies, the poignant suffering, the conflicts of the numerous men and women who people these films reflect the larger social, intellectual and political changes in one significant part of the modern world, Africa. The struggle of the younger generation of men and women to attain their domestic freedom to shape their own lives mirrors or parallels the continent’s struggle to achieve political and economic independence and to free itself from the shackles of outworn and debilitating, almost medieval, conventions and world outlook in a gigantic endeavour to belong to the modern world.”nWe furthermore will start an African film Series for Kids on Saturday mornings once a month, then a bi-monthly Namibian film series in Basel with the Basler Afrika Bibliopgraphien.nSee further down for more details.
For further information call +264 855630949 or emailgro.rinevacirfa@eknham.c  or visit our websitewww.africavenir.org nAfricAvenir: Detailed outlook on the first half of the year 2014nIn partnership with AfriCine, the 2014 African Perspectives series will begin with the highly provocative third feature by Jahmil Qubeka, “Of Good Report” (2013), South Africa. Controversially banned then unbanned by the South African Film and Publication Board this year, Of Good Report is a consummate tribute to classic film noir, albeit an irreverent and thoroughly South African rendition of the genre. Schoolteacher Parker Sithole has arrived in a rural village with no local connections, but his unassuming disposition inspires trust and sympathy, and he comes "of good report": with a glowing recommendation from his previous employer. He promptly begins an illicit affair with one of his new pupils, sixteen-year-old Nolitha. It proves to be a disastrous development for both.
As Keith Shiri rightfully put it: “For those who have been anticipating original and satisfying cinema from South Africa for a very long time, the wait is over. ….. Shot in black and white with crisp direction, Of Good Report is a magical piece of cinema observed in close focus and amidst intense performances, the film demonstrates the original and most coveted talent of its director, Jamil XT Kubheka as he delivers a compelling and insightful journey into the mind of a disturbed and troubled man. ”
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hnpg1LdlJU 

From South Africa we move to Kenya, with the screening of Judy Kibinge’s “Something Necessary” (2013), Kenya. The film is an intimate moment in the life of Anne, a woman struggling to rebuild her life.  While the country is struggling with the aftermath of  the civil unrest after the 2008 elections Anne needs to rebuild her life after the killing of her husband,  the uncertainty of her sons survival and  her isolated farm in ruins.  Joseph, a troubled young gang member who participated in the countrywide violence is drawn to Anne and her farm seemingly in search of redemption. Both he and Anne need something that only the other can give to allow them to shed the painful memories of their past and move on. But the question is, will either of them find it?
Link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckdS9PEkoQQ 

Namibian audiences then can look forward to “The Professor” (2012), directed by Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud, Tunisia. Shot during the Arab Spring, this film couldn’t have more timely, not only due to its subject but especially as it’s shooting authorisation was delayed by the authorities for several months, without giving specific reasons.  The Professor is a deeply insightful film into the human rights situation in Tunisia in the late 1970ies. It depicts how the personal becomes painfully political and how an unjust system can’t be defended, as there is “no correct life in an incorrect system”. As Mahmoud started to make films in the 1970ies, the film has an old-school auteur film feel, which goes well with the story and the setting. The film won “Prix du Meilleur Scenario” at the 2012 Carthage Film Festival. Its main actor Ahmed Hafiane is especially impressive in his pleasingly layered, prize-winning portrait of a suave apologist for tyranny slowly facing up to his own guilt, hypocrisy and moral vacancy.
Link:http://www.dohafilminstitute.com/filmfestival/archive/films/professor-1 

On the occasion of the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide in 2014, AfricAvenir Windhoek will present yet another Rwandan film in April this year. After having screened “Grey Matter” and “Sometimes in April” in the past, this time it will be Joel Karekezi’s debut film “Imbabazi – The Pardon” (2013), Rwanda. The director draws from his own experience as a survivor of Rwanda’s violence in creating this moving account of two former friends who found themselves on opposing sides in the 1994 genocide and who must now contend with the unimaginable horrors in their past. At the screening of the film in Berlin at AfriKamera in November 2013, the German president, Joachim Gauck attended. Will the Namibian audience be surprised by the attendance of Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba? 
Link:http://www.siff.net/festival-2014/siff-2013-archive/pardon 
Long awaited, finally finished, and presented to Namibian audiences in May, will be “Dakar Trottoirs” (2013), directed by Hubert Laba Ndao, Senegal. Dakar Trottoirs is the story of a burning passion between Salla and Siirou in this microcosmic world of the “sidewalks” of Dakar. Here the surrealist characters of a paradoxical theatre intermingle in the heart of the city. Here all dreams are possible but sometimes they become nightmares.
Link:http://www.acpculturesplus.eu/?q=en/content/beneficiary-project-dakar-trottoirs-trailer-hubert-laba-ndao-new-film 

After having screened O Heroi in 2010, Namibian and Windhoek-based Angolan audiences can enjoy another Zeze Gamboa film from neighbouring Angola. AfricAvenir will bring Gamboa’s latest’s feature, “The Great Kilapy” (2012), Angola/Brazil/Portugal, in the first half of 2014. The Great Kilapy tells the story of a crooked but irresistible bon vivant who, on the eve of Angolan independence, pulls off a massive swindle at the expense of the Portuguese colonial administration. Inspired by a real figure, this decade-spanning historical drama is a refreshing take on the national liberation story, and turns its conventions upside down with elegance and humour. Gamboa highlights: “The narrating of these adventures permits a gaze on a recent period of Portuguese/Angolan history, in which I intend to show the glamour of the rich sixties, the irreverence of young people at that time and the greatnesses and frailties of a regime in utter decline. This is a period that is somewhat mythical nowadays and that has never been dealt with in the cinema of these two countries, either out of forgetfulness or other unfathomable reasons on the one hand (Portugal), or due to the several different trials of a recently-born country in which it is only now that there is the birth of what we may call fictional cinema, as previously there had mainly been documentary films.”
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpwAn7RtEDU 

The second half of 2014 will bring great feature films such as  “Behind Closed Doors” (2013), by Mohammed Ahed Bensouda, Morocco, dealing with  the theme of sexual harassment, “Hidden Beauties” (2012), by one of the great masters of cinema, Nouri Bouzid, Tunisia, the epic “Toussaint Louverture” (2012), by Phillippe Niang, Haiti/France/Senegal, “Felix” (2013), the feel-good film, something for heart and soul, by Roberta Durrant, South Africa, and hopefully one of the films  by Nigerian director Andrew Dosunmu, be it “Restless City” (2011), or “Mother of George” (2013). nSome documentaries will also be shown, such as “Thomas Sankara” (1993), by Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda, DRC, “Ceux de la Colline” (2010), by Berni Goldblat, Burkina Faso, and “Sodiq” (2013), by Adeyemi Micheal, Nigeria/UK.

We would call it a huge success, if we were enabled to screen one of Germany’s post-WWII founding films, “Toxi” (1952), by Robert A. Stemmle. This film has been on our wish-list for some time now, but due to lack of funds, we weren’t able to screen the film yet. nThe film tells the story of a five-year-old girl who suddenly appears on the doorstep of a well-to-do Hamburg family. The members of the multi-generational, white household react differently to the arrival of Toxi, who is Black, the daughter of an African-American G.I. and a white German woman who has died. As one of the first and most successful films to directly tackle the problem of “race” in post-fascist Germany, Toxi arguably has been instrumental in the (re)construction of the German nation as exclusively white and hit the box offices exactly when the first generation of the so-called “Black Occupation Children” began entering German schools, creating a public awareness of this situation.nAs we need to raise funds to cover the screening fees, especially for “Toxi”, we welcome anyone willing to donate funds for this purpose. Please contact us via email (moc.liamelgoog@khw.rinevacirfa). This would be highly appreciated.

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