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African Film Festival Touring Series Coming To Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive 1/25-2/26

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 22, 2014 5:44 PM
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'Mother of George' Oscilloscope

For those of you in the Bay Area, several films that have been covered quite a bit on this blog, but may not have screened at a theater near you, are coming to the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), at U.C. Berkeley, courtesy of the annual African Film Festival, running from this Saturday, January 25, 2014 to February 26, 2014.

Full details courtesy of BAM/PFA follow below (for tickets click HERE):

Contemplation and rage both find their place in this year’s edition of our annual African Film Festival. Works like Andrew Dosunmu’sMother of George and Alain Gomis’s Teycontain a quiet, almost fugue-like beauty, and stand with anything that world cinema has to offer this year in terms of pure cinematic bliss. On the other hand, DIY, street-level efforts like Lonesome Solo’s Burn It Up Djassa and David Tosh Gitongo’s Nairobi Half Life teem with the anarchic energy and passions of their subjects, the urban chaos of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Nairobi, Kenya, respectively. Recent African documentaries also find themselves split between memory and rage, with Damien Ounouri’s elegiac Fidaï lingering over one man’s involvement in the Algerian War of Independence, and Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s incendiary Le Président offering up a dizzying, split-screen screed against presidential corruption and failed dreams. Rounding out our series is the delightful animated family film Zarafa, which follows a ten-year-old on an adventure from Africa to Europe in the company of a very special friend: a giraffe.

Join us for this tour of Africa and the African diaspora and experience some of the brightest new voices in world cinema today.

Jason Sanders, Film Notes Writer

Saturday, January 25, 2014

8:30 p.m. Mother of George

Andrew Dosunmu (U.S., 2012). Jim Jarmusch regular Isaach De Bankolé and Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) star as a couple with marital problems living in Brooklyn’s tight-knit Yoruba Nigerian community. “Ravishing . . . entices us with a world of abundant sensory riches” (Film Comment). (106 mins)


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

7:00 p.m. Le Président

Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Cameroon/Germany, 2013). The newest work by boundary-pushing Cameroonian filmmaker Bekolo (Quartier MozartLes saignantes) uses split screens, true-life interviews, and staged fictions to present a fake documentary in which a president disappears. With Nigerian Ishaya Bako’s documentary Fuelling Poverty. (93 mins) 


Thursday, January 30, 2014

7:00 p.m. Burn It Up Djassa

Lonesome Solo, a.k.a. Souleymane Bamba (Ivory Coast, 2012). Cinema vérité hits the ghetto in this noir and hip-hop–fuelled snapshot of the Abidjan streets, which merges the street-level, DIY aesthetics and energy of contemporary Nollywood with the particular realities of the Ivory Coast. (70 mins)


Sunday, February 2, 2014

3:00 p.m. Zarafa

Rémi Bezançon, Jean-Christophe Lie (France/Belgium, 2012). Recommended for ages 7 & up. The supervising animator behind The Triplets of Belleville brings viewers this family-friendly animated tale that moves from Africa to Europe, following a ten-year-old boy and his best friend, the first giraffe to ever set foot in France. “A pure wonder!” (FigaroScope). (78 mins)


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

7:00 p.m. Fidaï

Damien Ounouri (France/Algeria/China/Germany/Kuwait, 2012). Jia Zhang-ke’s Xstream Pictures served as coproducer of this elegiac portrait of a seemingly ordinary grandfather, who in reality was a freedom fighter during the Algerian War of Independence against France. “A striking advance in Arabic documentary filmmaking” (Variety). (83 mins)


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

7:00 p.m. Tey

Alain Gomis (Senegal, 2012). American musician/slam poet Saul Williams stars in this dreamlike fable of one man’s last day on earth, as prescribed by fate. Part Senegalese fairy tale, part existential Sartre play, Tey is “spiritual, soulful and captivating” (Hollywood Reporter). (89 mins)


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

7:00 p.m. Between Cultures: Recent African Shorts

Three award-winning portraits of African life, both on the continent and in the U.S.: Frances Bodomo’s Boneshaker (starring Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis), Akosua Adoma Owusu’s spellbinding Kwaku Ananse, and Bentley Brown’s Faisal Goes West. (72 mins)


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

7:00 p.m. Nairobi Half Life

David Tosh Gitonga (Kenya, 2012). An aspiring young actor from the Kenyan backwaters heads to Nairobi to make it big, but soon discovers why the city is nicknamed “Nairobbery.” Created through Tom Twyker’s production initiative, this “affecting, funny narrative” (Variety) is Kenya’s first-ever Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film. (96 mins)


The African Film Festival National Traveling Series is organized by the African Film Festival, Inc. This touring series has been made possible by the generous support of the National Endowments for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Lambent Foundation, and The Bradley Family Foundation. Special thanks to Mahen Bonetti, director, and Aminata Diop, program coordinator, for their assistance and support. The festival at BAM/PFA includes additional titles. It is copresented by the Department of African American Studies and the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley. Prints provided by the African Film Festival National Traveling Series, unless indicated otherwise.

For tickets click HERE.

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