Day 5 of Film Africa and it was all about South Africa as we showcased two documentaries from the South Africa @20 Freedom Tour. Both completely thrilling in different ways, Londoners triumphed over the poor weather to get their seats first for the humbling SOFT VENGEANCE: ALBIE SACHS & THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA. A wonderful doc that pays homage to anti-apartheid activist and generally lovely spirit Albie Sachs, Soft Vengeance, reflects on the man’s life and what led him to be the victim of an attempt on his life when he was caught up in a car bomb that resulted in him losing an arm. Instead of revenge or anger, Sachs was driven even more to bring peace and unity to South Africa through understanding and forgiveness. Abby Ginzberg’s film starts off with a bang and never lets up as the film follows the work of the ANC from the 1960s to present day. Informative and heartfelt, Soft Vengeance kicked off a perfect Wednesday evening of African film.
MINERS SHOT DOWN followed suit, this time examining South Africa of today. Visceral and heartbreaking, the documenting of the days before and in the aftermath of the Marikana massacre is a harrowing experience. With much of the footage from the perspective of the striking miners themselves, Miners Shot Down is a damning condemnation of the corruption and poverty and permeance of violence in South African lives that still affects a nation that has come far since Apartheid but has a long way to go.
Over at SOAS we had a full attendance for BASIL DAVIDSON’S AFRICA: A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. The free screening held resonance as Basil Davidson would have been 100 on 5th November. With a warm reception from the engaged audience, panel guests Mick Csaky and Gus Casely-Hayford, episode seven, The Rise of Nationalism, was screened and a discussion developed that reflected on the importance of the seminal series and the work of Basil Davidson.
A highlight of the evening was the presence in the audience of famous Ghanaian photographer James Barnor (read more about him http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Barnor) who explained the importance of the screening to him; there is a moment shown in the documentary where he had been standing right below the stage when Nkrumah announced independence:
It was a great please to showcase not only this important series that documents the seminal moments in African history, but to know the importance that still resonates with audiences now. Such positive responses makes it all worthwhile.
Day five was a busy day. Film Africa was all over London showcasing great Algerian cinema with an array of shorts looking at contemporary life in Algeria over at the Roxy Bar & Screen. The audience stayed all evening to be treated to the illuminating doc DESERT FOXES and then danced on into the night with FILM AFRICA LIVE! where we welcomed the El Andalus Quartet who had the people grooving in the aisles.
We also had the European Premiere of relevant doc A DOOMED GENERATION and tragic fable THEY ARE THE DOGS.
Today we’re excited to be screening some excellent films about amazing women. We have the UK Premiere of historical epic NJINGA, QUEEN OF ANGOLA with Queen Njinga herself, Lesliana Pereira here for a post-screening Q&A. We also have THE SUPREME PRICE, an exhilarating doc about Hafsat Abiola and her fight to bring democracy and rights to women in Nigeria. We have the lady herself and director Joanna Lipper in town for to answer questions.
Over at the beautiful Genesis Cinema, we have the masterful documentary and great historical document of African Culture THE PAN-AFRICAN FESTIVAL OF ALGIERS. If you want more then check out the phenomenal debut feature of nightmarish proportions, WHITE SHADOW, a disturbing coming-of-age tale, brilliantly acted and deftly directed.
Check in tomorrow for upcoming highlights including Sbhjuwa dance sensation HEAR ME MOVE, classic love story DAKAN, gripping urban drama FOUR CORNERS; if you missed it at LFF catch film festival success VIRGIN MARGARIDA and unique drama KADJIKE (of which we have a review).
See you tomorrow!