Ten essential African movies

The year that has just ended, 2014, will be remembered as a particularly rich in the production of cinema in sub-Saharan Africa and its diaspora. As shown, in the major international competitions, with Cannes and Toronto to head, the harvest in number and quality of African movies has been such that, waiting for the 15th edition of the biennial FESPACO next month of March, there are doubts about whether the selection will reach the expected level.


Abderrahmane Sissako fought for the Palme d’Or at Cannes with Timbuktu(pictured) and we predict will be competing for an Oscar; Raoul Peck has returned to fiction adapting theorem, Pasolini; with Murder in Pacot, a group of young and promising filmmakers has left us speechless with its presentation films and the documentary genre is more alive than ever. Perhaps arise new names, but two months of the opening ceremony of the festival in Ouagadougou, still no news that directors consolidated as Mahamat-Saleh Haroun or Haile Gerima, among others, will release this coming year. We’ll see in a few months.

Meanwhile, project free tv leave you my list of the 10 African 2014 movies that any film buff and lover of Africa, should include in its film library. The order of this list is alphabetical and does not establish hierarchies. I have chosen to give more relevance to the feature film but exclude the brilliant French Bodomo short (point this name!) and a couple of South African documentaries would have been an inexcusable error. There, much to my regret, two large des absent: Raoul Peckand October 1 of the Nigerian Kunle Afolayansaid film. Incapable of seeing them today, I have decided not to include them waiting to devote the space that I predict they deserve. Meanwhile, as a faithful follower of both directors, its mention in this introduction was justice. If you want to watch movies online at a best streaming website with high speed server, high definition and no advertisement, please launch movie2k

1. Afronauts, French Bodomo (Ghana) short film

On July 16, 1969, United States was about to launch the Apollo 11. Thousands of kilometres of distance, the space Academy from Zambia, headed by Edward Makuka Nkoloso, science teacher’s hopes to win the space race. This afrofuturista based on a real story, the young director Frances Bodomo serves printing of sci-fi that certain facts of contemporary African history to be ficcionalizados for his second short presented at Sundance. Formed at NYU in film theory, Bodomo would step in practice leaving us speechless with Boneshaker (2012).

In about 12 minutes of intense displayed an unexpected knack for a newly arrived in the composition of atmospheres, feelings and audiovisual textures. In his most recent work shot in 16mm, white and populated granulated Grayscale black and a saturated sound environment create an indefinite full of historical references to past, present, and future, where they mix myth, history, memory and nostalgia.Delivered today in Afronauts become a feature film, French Bodomo is part of a new wave of transnational African directors young (Akosua Adoma Owusu, Nyemek Msangi-Omari, Jenna Bass…) that are transforming the expectations of international audiences about Africa from cinema. Web page

2. Deadpool (2016)

Watch dead pool online on Movietube.

3. Half of a Yellow Sun, Biyi Bandele (Nigeria)

One of the most anticipated films of this year, the screen adaptation of the eponymous bestseller of the Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie began its journey in international festivals accompanied by an incomprehensible delay in his exhibition in the rooms of his country motivated, according to the Commission of censorship “by the incitement to violence that could cause”.

Signed by Biyi Bandele, acclaimed novelist and playwright Nigerian in the United Kingdom and in adaptations for theatre of African authors like Chinua Achebe orAphra Behn, Half of a Yellow Sun is his first foray into feature film. In this historical melodrama, Bandele adapts with freedom, and keeping the narrative tension, the novel of Adichie. Presents the conflict in Biafra in the 1960s through vital travels of two wealthy family twin: Olanna and Kainene. With a cast of international stars in the main roles, which, however, are at times of lack of depth-Chiwetel Ejiofor (Odenigbo), Thandie Newton (Olanna), Anika Noni Rose(Kainene) – the action is rescued by an unforgettable set of secondary (Onveka Onwnu, Genevive Nnaji, OC Ukeje and John Boyega). Music and the recreation of environments, thanks to colourful photography John de Borman and the quality of the production, are without a doubt their strengths. The debut film of Biyi Bandele, despite its weaknesses, predicts it a promising career in commercial cinema. Web page

4. Love the One You Love, Jenna Bass (South Africa)

If Soderbergh, Sex, lies and videotapes, film was shot in South Africa by 2014 is entitled Love the One You Love and its Director would be Jenna Bass. After all international filing with the short film The Tunnel in 2010 (produced by the now defunct Focus Features Africa First program), the first feature of the South African Jenna Bass expected forward. Premiering in his country, took the prizes to the best feature film South African and best actress (Chiedza Mhende) in Durban. Never before had captured with such precision and detail the anxieties, desires and expectations that love causes in new generations of the new South Africa.

We are in the contemporary Cape Town where Terri (Chiedza Mhende) a tele-operadora of an erotic line, her boyfriend Sandile (Andile Nebulane) and Eugene (Louw Venter), computer technician, feel that their love is being controlled by larger forces, and are the subject of a bizarre conspiracy. In the search for answers to their premonitions turn to all the media surrounding them: new technologies, witchcraft, hypnosis, private detectives and tips for family and friends…

Tired of the time involving a conventional film, Jenna Bass, armed with a movie concept developed in just 20 pages decided to make a film impromptu and cheap to “prove to herself that could do it”. Surrounded by a few brilliant actors, Director captures the incomprehensible and complex of each human life, buried in the chance of contemporary relationships. The soundtrack composed by the improvised talks about masterfully directed actors transmits local urban slang and the pictorial flow of images in different formats and from all kinds of screens (in tune with the vignettes of African Pulp Magazine Jungle Jim Bass edit) and mounted to a fast pace, completed the feat. A lesson in style and show films which must be signed by one of the most promising directors of the continent.

5. Run, Philippe Lacôte (Ivory Coast)

The history of African cinemas are not uncommon in the allegories of the post-colonial African Nations (Teza, L’absence…) and Run is included in this tradition, reflecting on the contemporary history of Ivory Coast. The dream of independence was defeated by the decline that followed the miracle economic three decades ago and, at the present time, the violence has imposed as the only means to achieve power. “Violence only begets violence,” says the protagonist towards the end. Its director, the Ivorian Philippe Lacôtte, offers us the story of a hero who decides at any time what will be their destiny. “Je m’appelle Run, et if je m ‘enfuis, c’ est pour défendre ma liberté”.

For this ambitious film full of quotations from great African directors has counted with an all-star cast, symbol of the moment that we are living. Tourou, the master of the young Run, is Rasmané Ouedraogo (Yaaba and Tilaï, Moolaadé La nuit de la vérité…) and is known as actor fetish of pioneers like Sembene Ousman, Idrissa Ouedraogo or Fanta Regina Nacro; the old (Assa) militant who saved from death and will release a Run is Issach De Bankole, belonging to the generation of African actors who managed to insert in the international cinema and, finally, the protagonist, Run (Abdoul Karim Konaté, Le Djassa a pris feu) is one of the leading representatives of a new form of filmmaking in Africa in the 21st century : autonomous and proud of herself. Work on the importance of the intergenerational work and the effort to understand the present, reflecting on the past and looking to the future, occupies a prominent place among the African films released in 2014 full.

Philippe Lacôtte, known as producer of the award-winning Le Djassa a pris feu(2012), has demonstrated its good do been selected at Un Certain Regard at Cannes with his first feature film as a director.

6. Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako (Mali)  


Eight years after his trial to the IMF and the World Bank in Bamako, the more international and equipped with contemporary African directors, the MauritanianAbderrahmane Sissako, has become to Cannes and Toronto with Timbuktu, leaving stunned public and critic. A beautiful Ode to understanding and peace that has resistance and suffering in the North of Mali to the occupation jihadi, by which he was about to take the Golden Palm and which would receive the prize of the Ecumenical jury and the François Chalais Prize.

Recently, it has become to make history as one of 9 foreign films pre-seleccionada for the Oscars and, pending that are announced five films which will be finally contested the award, this first nomination will help no doubt in its international distribution. Sissako, author of the first rank, once again demonstrates his ability to baste tragedy and humor through film, art space and time, creating a place for reflection on the suffering of the victims in the muted contemporary conflicts as well as everyday men and women running resistance force. Based on people and real events, with mostly novice actors, camera Sofiane El Fani ( La vie d’ Adèle ‘s Adbellatif Kechiche camera operator) emphasizes the quality of their performances on a perennial ochre hue of adobe and desert sand.

Assembly (Naida Ben Rachid) master and musical interludes contribute to round out a film that, months after his presentation, it has already become a classic in the history of African cinemas and which we hope will be done with the Oscar as a symbolic prize recognition one of filmmakers in assets of greater value in the global panorama.

7. Miners Shot Down, Rehad Desai (South Africa) documentary 


A group of South African miners in Marikanga in August 2012, began a strike to improve their salaries. The repression of the peaceful mobilization of strikers would cause numerous wounded and 38 dead. The experienced director of South African documentaries Rehad Desai, who is make known a decade ago in Cannes to international audiences with Born Into Struggle (2004), employs once more best to follow, day-by-day observational documentary tools and from the point of view of the victims, the events that provoked the first massacre in South Africa after apartheid.

Use the time to catch the Viewer, who lives in first person the development of the events lived by the miners thanks to the virtuosity in interlayer climatic moments of apparent suspension with other creating an upward tension resulting composed an intricate web of powers and interests-economic, characteristic of the contemporary South Africa. Desai unmasks the acquiescence of politicians of the ANC with the compa ia mining Lonmin, its infiltrators between protesters and police in this silent massacre. Endorsed at festivals with numerous awards for its value for the defence of human rights, his courage in the presentation of these traumatic events places it as one of the required documentaries of the year. Web page

8. Stories of Our Lives, Jim Chuchu (Kenya)

What had begun as a file of testimonies in the LGBT community of Kenya, gathered by a local art collective, become a project so seductive that the Association would step to the big screen. With a ridiculous budget and a team composed of a small video camera, a microphone, two LEDs and a portable digital recorder, the five stories that make up Stories of Our Lives surprised in Toronto, captivating equal to audience and critical.

An intimate and poetic soundtrack is responsible for holding sixty minutes in black and white, that there are real stories in urban and rural settings, where love, sex, rejection, betrayal, dreams and hopes cartografían a multifaceted human geography of anxieties and feelings shared by young people of Kenya. Experiment only gives visibility to a community persecuted and penalised, Stories of Our Livesis a stimulating and acute Symphony of decisive moments in the lives of a group of men and women faced with a society full of prejudice and narrow-mindedness.Sharing the lack of moralizing intention and fleeing from the closed end, these dramatizations propose ways to understand and respect to each other in a world in which the gender and sexuality should weigh no more than our shared humanity.Web page

9. Shield and Spear, Petter Ringbom (South Africa) documentary

In 2010, nearly two decades after the fall of apartheid in South Africa, the Cape Town artist provocateur Brett Murray made a painting of highly satirical charging that President Jacob Zuma displayed genitals posing as Lenin. The work, entitledThe Spear, caused a stir of national dimension, with institutional statements and prosecution of ANC, popular demonstrations and attack on the work included reaching out to the international press. Starting from this event, Swedish director based in New York, Petter Ringbom travelled to Soweto, Cape Town, Johannesburg and other cities of the rainbow nation to portray the true scope of the democratic system led by the ANC and the time of creative ferment that is living in music, painting, literature, graffiti, fashion, photography, video….

Through interviews with journalists, artists and collectives, it takes us into a reality of negotiation of identities, traditions, and stigma, where freedom of speech, racism, xenophobia, the legacy of colonialism and the censorship mark the everyday activities of artists and inhabitants. Presented at the Hot Docs Toronto and about to begin his tour of international festivals, this documentary classic on your Bill, returns us the two poles that are discussing the contemporary South African art: the revolutionary provocation (Lance-spear) and the defense as a reaction to the fear (shield-shield). In the 21st century, these artistic practices with a pro-comunitario and openly political approach to demonstrate how art can and must continue to be subversive to trigger changes. Web page

10. Veve, Simon Mukali (Kenya)

Written by screenwriter and actress Natasha Likimani, the film takes its name from one of the names given to the khat or miraa, a narcotic plant popular in East African. About this substance and following the pace set by the rules of the genres of thriller and melodrama, shows us the production, distribution and consumption of khat gear. The stories crossed the political and drug dealer Amos and Sammy, his right hand, of your enemy Wadu, of the wife of Amos and her lover, Kenzo, a young thirsty for revenge, and a young and naive director of documentaries white will trigger passions and deceptions.

The grim portrait of Kenyan society that offers just it is balanced by those who try to resist by the naivety of their actions. Produced by One Fine Day Films, responsible in recent years some of the greatest successes of the country inside and outside its borders (Nairobi Half Life; Something Necessary) in collaboration with public and private institutions in German and presented in Durban, Veve enters no-holds-barred world of drugs, corruption and poverty. Despite some gaps in the narrative tension, the television composition, moralizing end and that the character of the young director come motivated only by international business interests, Veve is worthy example of diversity and autonomy in the film production of Kenya in recent years. To this day, it is an industry that has appropriated their references local responding to the needs of their audiences while the movies that come out of its borders report and surprise international spectators.

(*) Beatriz Leal Riesco is criticism, curator and researcher specializing in African cinemas and programmer of the African Film Festival in NYC

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