5 items from 2017
2016 marked an important year in the history of African cinema, as we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the seminal film “La Noire De…” (“Black Girl”) by Ousmane Sembene, the “Father of African cinema,” which helped launch an era in film… Continue Reading → »
- Tambay Obenson
To speak of African cinema, one must begin with a discussion of Ousmane Sembene, the Senegalese auteur credited as the father of African film.
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- Nicholas Bell
This is film as revolutionary act. Sembène was not coy about his intentions. This is a story of a black woman. It’s a story of neocolonial slavery. It’s a story of racism. It’s also a story of spirituality. Of modernity versus tradition. It’s an act of courage, and an attempt to speak to a specific, and largely non-commercial, group of people. This is an attempt to change the world. It’s also trying to just be a good film. It’s a heady mix.
The film is based on a true story that its director, Ousmane Sembène, saw in a newspaper while living in France. An unidentified African woman had been found dead of suicide, in the apartment of her employers. Sembène was disturbed by the story for a decade, and eventually he wrote a short story, attempting to tell the tale of this unknown woman. »
- Arik Devens
Ever more generously represented on the festival circuit, the coming-of-age drama has developed as clearly inscribed a template as any genre in the contemporary filmmaker’s playbook — growing up, after all, is only surprising to those who haven’t yet done it. So it’s to the credit of “The Wound,” a stark, stirring variation on the form from a little-filmed corner of South Africa, that it should prompt at least one outright gasp as it details the fallout of an age-old initiation ritual for adolescent boys in the rural Xhosa community. It’s not the boys, however, whose growth is of primary interest in John Trengove’s tough-minded, sharply shot debut; rather, it’s their nominally adult mentors who are shown to be wrestling most nervously with still-inchoate masculinity, as personal and sexual insecurities come violently to the surface. Universally identifiable but rooted in fascinating indigenous tradition, “The Wound »
- Guy Lodge
After years of having it on my watchlist, I caught up with Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène's Moolaadé last year and enjoyed it a great deal, leaving me hungry for more. The Criterion Collection has conveniently sailed in to quench the thirst, with its January 24 release of Sembene's first feature film, Black Girl, which joins the collection at spine #852. Black Girl saw its 50th anniversary last year and was restored by the World Cinema project in 4K resolution, the transfer that has been used for the disc here. The results are, predictably, terrific: aside from a handful of shots which still retain some visible spots in places, the digital print is crackling sharp, keeping its beautiful grain alive while betraying none of the gorgeous...
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5 items from 2017
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