The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
2012, Kim Nguyen, Canada, 90 min. With Rachel Mwanza, Mizinga Mwinga.
"Mesmerizing ... so cleareyed that it makes you wonder how much more irrational this world is than the so-called civilized one." – Stephen Holden, The New York Times
This Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film was frequently cited in reviews of last year’s similarly themed BEASTS OF NO NATION, with many preferring the earlier film’s subtler but no less powerful approach. The story is told through the eyes of an African village girl who is kidnapped by a guerilla army at age twelve and forced to serve as a child soldier. Director Nguyen, who devoted ten years to the film, effectively counterpoints the horrors of war with moments of genuine tenderness and hallucinatory beauty. In French with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)
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)