It’s a sad reality that Africa suffers from of an absence of visibility and comprehension, because of the eternal depressing images. War, AIDS, famine, poverty, misery etc… this is generally the manner in which the media perceives and relates the development of our continent. For them Africa is nothing short of a continuous catastrophe.

Our recent past has seen a different approach by the emergence of a new generation of African filmmakers, who hopefully will determine a fresh vision to fight the clichés with the digital camera as an opened eye, able to see and expose a different Africa.

These filmmakers have a common approach: they talk about their own life and history, their families and societies. and belong to this phenomena. Through intimate stories, these films try to paint the real face and TRUTH of Africa.

The Colonial Misunderstanding (Le Malentendu Colonial)

South Africa 2006 50min Subtitles
Dir: Jean-Marie Teno

The Colonial Misunderstanding

An illuminating chronicle of missionary involvement in Africa, that charts the evolution of the mandate of church missions, specifi cally the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1834, missions set out to bring a “new message” to the Dark Continent. But, by the 1870s, this altruism was tainted by the economic ambitions of a resource-hungry Europe. Africa was carved up at the infamous 1884 Berlin Conference and missionaries were tasked with enforcing the new order through the power of the Bible. This collusion between missionaries, trusted by local tribes, and the new “masters” led to German atrocities against the Hereros, including camps that were horrifying preludes to Auschwitz and Dachau. More than just a profound history lesson, this defi nitive documentary discusses, through insightful interviews with African academics and clerics, the options open to modern Africans.

Courtesy of the Director

JOHANNESBURG THU 20 8.45pm SUN 23 3.30pm
CAPE TOWN SAT 29 4.15pm TUE 1 8pm

Five x Five (Cinq x Cinq)

Senegal 2005 48min Subtitles
Dir: Moussa Touré

Five x Five

Meet Jean Salif Diallo. At fifty-five he has five wives, twenty five children and, although a retired public sector employee, can, at any one time, do any number of jobs from fishing to driving to photography. His first wife married him in 1974, his fifth wife in 1992 – they are very different women, yet each loves Jean and manages to negotiate the others with gentle, diplomatic rivalry. In a compound overflowing with children, each wife has two days to cater to Jean’s every need before relinquishing him to the next in line. In this lightly told portrait of a charming family, Jean is unrepentant of his polygamous choices. Although not ecstatic about sharing him, his wives are resigned to the situation, but his eldest children are not convinced.

Courtesy of the Director

JOHANNESBURG MON 17 8.15pm SUN 23 4.30pm
CAPE TOWN SAT 29 4.00pm SUN 6 3.45pm

Mo & Me

Kenya 2006 95min
Dir: Roger Mills & Murad Rayani

Mo & Me

In 1984, the human cost of the famine in Ethiopia was visually broadcast to the world. The person behind the camera was a little known, Kenyan photographer called Mohammed (Mo) Amin. But although this became the pinnacle of his career, this unflinching and deeply personal documentary, narrated by Amin’s son and photographic heir Salim, exposes a remarkable life lived by an extraordinary and difficult man. Illustrated with images of Mo’s vast archive, this vivid tribute reveals his tireless quest to display Africa’s political reality. It charts his earliest ambitions, his incarceration in Zanzibar, his determination to capture a story by pandering to Uganda’s Amin and Ethiopia’s Mengistu, his persistence in getting the Ethiopian crisis to the forefront of global consciousness, right up to the last dramatic moment of his life.

Best Documentary Feature. Grand Jury Prize New York International Independent Film and Video Festival 2006

Courtesy of Camerapix the Director

JOHANNESBURG MON 17 8.30pm SUN 23 2.15pm
CAPE TOWN SUN 30 5.45pm SUN 6 5.15pm

Si-Guériki, The Queen Mother (Si-Guériki, La Reine-Mère)

France 2005 57min Subtitles
Dir: Idrissou Mora-Kpai

Si-Guériki, The Queen Mother

When Mpai left Benin, he left behind a father he admired above all else. While he is away, his father dies. After a decade, he returns to his hometown ostensibly to present his noble Wangarai warrior father to the world by interviewing those who knew him. Conversely, however, he reconnects with the female side of his family from which, according to custom, he was almost entirely separated from as a child.

In this unexpectedly touching story, the filmmaker discovers that his mother is a strong, dignified woman, with a tender friendship with her husband’s other wife. He also learns that, in his absence, his mother has become Queen of the Borgu Kingdom, and that if his father was alive, he would now have to bow to her.

Courtesy of the Director

JOHANNESBURG SUN 16 2.15pm SAT 22 2.00pm
CAPE TOWN TUE 1 6.30pm

A Window Opened (Une Fenêtre Ouverte)

Senegal 2006 52min Subtitles
Dir: Khady Sylla

A Window Opened

In 1994, the filmmaker wandered the streets of Dakar recording homeless and psychiatrically challenged people. As she did so, she felt herself disappearing into a fog of confusion, and madness, and by an opportune accident the film too emerged overexposed. This film is the basis of a new attempt at this mesmerizing, multi-faceted subject matter in the form of one central, expressive muse. Aminta Ngom displays her madness freely but is confined to the courtyard of her family home. A complex understanding and friendship develops between the director and her subject, and her personal interpretation of what Aminta feels turns this intimate and powerful film into a portrait, a self-portrait and a lucid illustration of the workings of a troubled mind.

Courtesy of the Director

JOHANNESBURG SUN 16 4.15pm SUN 23 2.00pm
CAPE TOWN SUN 30 4.00pm WED 2 6.30pm