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African cinema: ten of the best

3 September 2012 9:15 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

To celebrate Africa Express rolling out across the UK, here's a guide to 10 classic films to have come from the continent

Africa played no part in the invention of cinema. For decades, in Tarzan movies, it was the subject of fake Hollywood fantasies. And yet, when Africans made films about themselves, the results were astonishing. There are scores of great African movies. Here are 10 of the best:

Cairo Station (Egypt, 1958)

If Alfred Hitchcock had been Egyptian and bisexual, and had himself played Norman Bates, Psycho might have been something like this. Sweaty, musical, melodramatic and political, Cairo Station stars ballsy writer-director Youssef Chahine as a homicidal newspaper seller in Cairo's vast railway station. In the 1950s, movies such as Rebel without a Cause and All That Heaven Allows were about repression as a ticking time bomb, but Chahine's film about sexual desire with no outlet was one of the biggest cinematic bombs of the decade. »

- Mark Cousins

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1 item from 2012


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