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 Post subject: African Cinema on DVD
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:13 pm 
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Similar to South America films, African Cinema interests me because of its differences from the Western world view. I have some of the New Yorker Ousmane Sembene DVDs as a starting point, but im sure there is a lot more to be discovered.

can anyone suggest some of the best African film directors, and their related availability (or not) on dvd?

thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:01 am 
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This article from Sight & Sound offers a decent overview of African cinema.

Kino offers a fair amount of African films, out of the few Kino releases I've seen my favorite would be Daresalam which mixes politics with a coming-of-age story in Central Africa, and Genesis was a rather vivid retelling of the book of the bible depicting clan warfare in a historical sense. I also enjoyed Waiting for Happiness which currently has an Artificial Eye release, although there is a R1 release that I haven't seen. Abderrahmane Sissako might be my favorite African director out of the little African films that I've seen and his films really were my introduction to the region.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 11:24 am 

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In addition to Ousmane Sembène, Idrissa Ouedraogo, and Abderrahmane Sissako, I also really like Djibril Diop Mambéty's films. He doesn't so much look at the legacy of colonialism as he looks at the nature of post-colonial stagnation. In addition to Hyenas which the BFI article mentions (it's available on R1, but I haven't seen the DVD), I also suggest The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun. Doriane Films released it with Le Franc in France a few years ago with English subtitles. It might be out of print, since it's no longer listed in Doriane Films' Cinéma du monde, but it's definitely worth hunting down.

A few years ago, the New York African Film Festival had a mid career retrospective of Fanta Regina Nacro's films, and her themes are a bit all over the place: consumerism, empowerment, the stereotype that Africa is still one big jungle. Her recent film, Night of Truth on the struggle of reconciliation is available in the UK.

NYAFF also had a mid career retrospective not too long ago on S. Pierre Yameogo, and like Sembène, his films are usually moral tales or explore the colonial legacy. His latest film is Delwende about the "witch" villages where people cast off those who are no longer useful to society (or cause trouble), and it's available in France supposedly with English subs (I haven't seen the DVD but Fnac seems to confirm it). The series introduction's a blur now, but I believe he is a Sembène disciple.

Also worth a rummage is California Newsreel, where about a third of the films screened at NYAFF turn up for distribution, like Ian Gabriel's beautiful film on reconciliation, Forgiveness and Zézé Gamboa's portrait of post civil war Angolan society, The Hero (they also have Taghreed Elsanhouri's essay film All About Darfur, which is an interesting look at the Darfur conflict from the perspective of tribalism rather than race or religion). I haven't seen the quality of Newsreel's DVDs, but since the films are unlikely to turn up anywhere else, I'd say it's worth checking out.

Speaking of essay films, one filmmaker whose work is always interesting is Cameroonian Jean-Marie Téno. Although my favorite, The Colonial Misunderstanding (on the role of missionary work in colonialism) isn't available on home video so far, Chef! and Africa, I Will Fleece You are available. Chef! examines the hierarchical structures (and mindsets) that contribute to graft and corruption of post colonial governments and Africa, I Will Fleece You examines the ingrained culture of "aspiring to the level of whites" that illustrate the problem of applying Western paradigms to developing African societies.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:46 am 
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Since your name would suggest you are somewhat of a fan of Godard, you might enjoy Djibril Diop Mambéty's Touki Bouki. It's availible on Kino, decent print. Be forewarned, there are some extremely graphic animal slaughters that take place as soon as the movie starts...but if you plow through the heavy and uneven (and bloody!) beginning, it's worth it. It turns into a really jazzy, entertaining mashup of Godard and say, Jarmusch, with a very strong post-colonial African sensibility at its core.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:03 pm 
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Hi folks. Does anyone know if the California Newsreel dvds are region free? I can't find it on their page. Oh, and they're having a sale, or so the email I just got indicated (though it appears $25 per dvd is the regular price on their site).

And, it's interesting that 5 years ago when I did an African film project, none of these films were available on dvd.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:50 pm 
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milk114 wrote:
Does anyone know if the California Newsreel dvds are region free?

As far as I know, all of the Library of African Cinema discs are region free DVD-Rs. I just ordered a few dozen of them for the library, so if you want to wait a few days, I can give you a much better answer.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:07 pm 
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Yep. Region-free DVD-Rs.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:37 pm 
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thanks for the info Matt


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:10 pm 
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Anyone have any info on the quality of the Jean-Marie Teno films available as burn-on-demand DVD-Rs on Amazon like Africa, I Will Fleece You?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:49 pm 

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There is a hole the size of Africa in my film education. I'm based in Latin America, in a country where no african cinema is ever shown. As luck would have it, I'll be visiting Capetown, South Africa, for a few days. Anybody knows a good video store where I can buy legal DVDs or Blu?

And maybe more importantly, what should I look for? I know is a wide open question, but bear with me, please!

Any tips would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:57 pm 
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I don't know where you'd buy them, naturally, but if you see anything directed by Ousmane Sembene it is absolutely essential. I'm also fond of the work of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:03 pm 
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Sembene films are available again on DVD via the relaunched New Yorker Films. A few are also viewable on Netflix.
Another major classic that's available now is Cairo Station.
The two best distributors I know of that are keeping African films in circulation in theaters and on disc are Film Movement and First Run.
In addition to work by African directors that Film Movement has released (including Mahamat-Saleh Haroun), don't miss Lee Isaac Chung's eloquent Rwandan production, Munyurangabo. From First Run, the best bang for your buck is The Best of Global Lens: Africa, which includes four films from that series.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:12 pm 
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I believe Kino also has several good releases.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:25 pm 
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Kino has Djibril Diop Mambety's Touki Bouki (which is also part of the World Cinema Foundation restorations and the filmmaker has a page up on Criterion hinting at a blu-ray release maybe of the film in the near future).


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:40 pm 
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Kino did a handful of African films, generally of the same rough-and-ready quality as the bulk of their output of modern films prior to the Lorber merger. I don't know that they've released anything from the continent in roughly the past six or eight years, so First Run and Film Movement seem to be the labels to watch. Kino's Touki Bouki has gone out of print, possibly related to the restoration.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:05 am 
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ArtMattan has a catalog of 90 African and African diaspora films.
One of the latter is The First Rasta, a new documentary about Rastafarian founder Leonard Percival Howell which looks interesting.
Looks like more than half of their films are from Africa.
They specialize in 2-fers with two African films on one disc. The only thing I have from them is Great African Films Vol 2, which has two early 21st C Burkina Faso films. The three discs in that series (6 films!) are selling for just $10 each and less on Amazon.
ArtMattan also rents out 35MM prints.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:40 am 
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In Uganda, a filmmaker makes gripping $200 action flicks


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:44 am 
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Well someone just outed themselves as an AP user.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:55 pm 
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The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project, UNESCO, and the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers have collaborated to set up the African Film Heritage Project to locate, restore and preserve 50 films of cultural importance.

Info: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-serv ... ma_projec/


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:22 pm 
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Sweet, does this mean likely Criterion releases in the future?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:28 pm 
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Here is a video of Scorsese introducing the project.

Knives, I would think that Criterion would have to be favorites in light of the of the World Cinema Projects.


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