The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
2015, Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman, USA/Senegal, 86 min.
"Endlessly fascinating … an enormously moving portrait of the profound way that art can transform those who come into contact with it." – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
With only a fifth-grade education and a past as a fisherman and Marseille dockworker, Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene (1923-2007), acclaimed as the father of African cinema, created his art and his career from scratch. For the first time, Africans saw themselves vibrantly through films that addressed the deepest concerns of African identity and culture, including immigration and exploitation (BLACK GIRL), government corruption (XALA), and female circumcision (MOOLAADÉ). Directors Gandigo (also Sembene’s official biographer) and Silverman bring a raw truthfulness to this portrait of a complex and driven man, who would stop at nothing to make a film, even diverting a student’s script and production money to make CAMP DE THIAROYE, his powerful indictment of colonialism. In English, French, and Wolof with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)
2014, Zeresenay Mehari, Ethiopia/USA, 99 min. With Meron Getnet, Tizita Hagere.
"Compelling … authentic and affecting … a dramatic yet nuanced window into a culture we almost never see." – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"An important story told with commitment.” – Trevor Johnston, Time Out London
Fourteen year-old Hirut is kidnapped and raped on her way home from school, a brutal event considered an accepted prelude to a marriage proposal in rural Ethiopia. When she momentarily gains control of her attacker’s gun and kills him, the authorities in this male-dominated, tradition-bound society demand her execution. Executive-produced by Angelina Jolie and Black Harvest filmmaker Lacey Schwartz (LITTLE WHITE LIE),, DIFRET dramatically reenacts a true story, as one woman, a lawyer, comes forward to aggressively protect and defend the girl in the face of the reality that no Ethiopian woman has ever been exonerated for killing a man in self defense. In Amharic with English subtitles. DCP digital. (BS)