The film Sinking Sand, which starred the Haitian born Hollywood actor, Jimmy Jean Louis from Ghana also won many prizes. The process included videos by administrators well known to global art house audiences, such as Chadian A Screaming Man and Franco Algerian Rachid Boucher Beyond Your Law, together with popular genre films and documentaries. Here is the first of the couple of planned review articles about shows presented as of this year’s Cinema Africa event. African cinema’ is a massive concept. What do the movie cultures of Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria’s Hollywood market have commonly? From what extent is there African appearance or particularly African themes? Should there be? Such questions have already been asked for so long as videos have already been made in Africa and I make no pretence about addressing them.
However the questions unavoidably offer themselves once I watch, first the Congolese action film Viva Riva. After which, in rapid succession the Mozambican magic realist theatre the Flamingo’s Past Flight. On top the 2 shows could not be opposed. Viva Riva. Prostitution, guns, pain, casual sex and fatal violence occur in virtually every scene. Inter African racism, misogyny and near complete corruption characterize the 10 million plus megacity’s life of Kinshasa, where the film is set. It is beautifully shot in high definition, with rich color scales of natural, red, silver and earth tones, because the camera moves easily through the busy nightlife the packed daytime streets or even the luxurious residence of the fancy gangster boss. Editing is also rhythmical and easy. Acting is naturalistic, with the perfect amount of language in cheek.
It shapes in virtually every approach to the accepted standards of the well made’ Hollywood type film, that is probably why it found most of the most prestigious prizes Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, best production design at the 7th African Video Academy Awards the continent’s equivalent of the Oscars. While young people, new to African cinema and wanting a difficult’, culturally remote experience, were happily surprised from the thrills and social accessibility of the video, some experts of the celebration wondered whether it was the kind of film the festival must provide, objecting to the amount of gender and free documentaries. The latter audience members could undoubtedly have felt more comfy with the Flamingo a film based on a book by the bright Mozambican writer Mia Couto and guided by Joo Ribeiro’s Last Flight. Is urban, cynical and, somewhat superficially, ultra materialist, Last Trip is ready in the country and gives redemption through love and magic.