10 African films to watch out for, N°14

Documentary filmmakers are better at spreading the word about their new work on the web compared to fiction directors, or there’s just more documentary films being made. (Or I’m looking in the wrong places.) Here are ten more films to watch out for. First, four fiction features: A Menina dos Olhos Grandes (“The girl with the big eyes”) is based on a popular story from Cape Verde: a “creole girl” returns from Europe to her homeland due to the sudden death of her father where she will come up against an unfamiliar reality and ghosts of her past. Trailer above. (Also check this older trailer to get another feel of the film.)

Tourbillon à Bamako (“Swirl in Bamako”).


A wild chase in search of a lottery ticket through the streets of Bamako.

Film Details:

  • Country: Mali
  • Director: Dominique Philippe
  • Production: Babel Films
  • Cast: Chek Oumar Sidibé, Mama Koné, Fatoumata Coulibaly

The film’s Facebook page has a trailer.

A Lovers Call is a short film by Najma Nuriddin about Aasim, a young single Muslim man living in Washington DC who falls for a poet named Kala. The film is filed in the portfolio of Nsoroma Films, a US-based production house “of the African diaspora … dedicated to telling organic stories.” Here’s a trailer:

Elelwani is a new film by South African director Ntshavheni wa Luruli (whose film The Wooden Camera was awarded the Crystal Bear for Best Youth Feature at the Berlinale in 2004). Selling-line: “the world’s first Venda film”:

And six documentaries (made/in-the-making):

The Engagement Party in Harare is a 35mins documentary film by British/Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Piotrowska “about post-colonial identities at the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe.” The film features the HIFA organizers as well as Zimbabwean artists such as Raphael Chikukwa (photo left) and Tsitsi Dangaremba. No trailer yet.

Rwagasore: Life, Struggle, Hope is a film by directors Justine Bitagoye and Pascal Capitolin and producer Johan Deflander about Burundi’s struggle hero Prince Louis Rwagasore who became the country’s first Prime Minister, and was murdered a few days after the formation of his government, on October 13, 1961. According to the film’s website “the film [was] shown during the [2012] cinquentenaire festivities on July 1st at the Burundi embassy in Moscow. This mainly for the Burundese diaspora in Russia.”

Here’s a first trailer for I Sing the Desert Electric, a short film about electronic based musical phenomena occurring from Mauritania to Northern Nigeria. Cue sahelsounds:

Underground/On the Surface revolves around a new underground musical genre known as Mahraganat Shaabi which despite being rejected by the mainstream has become very popular with the youth in the streets of Cairo:

(Related: don’t miss Afropop Worldwide’s recent feature on Cairo’s musical “underground”.)

Mother of the Unborn is Nadine Salib’s first feature length documentary and looks at the challenges faced by Egyptian women unable to conceive, and subsequently face rejection by their families and stigmatization by their communities. The film tells stories of several childless women who navigate their world of rural Egyptian myths, legends, habits and traditions surrounding childbearing and infertility:

And in 1962: De l’Algérie française à l’Algérie algérienne (“From French Algeria to Algerian Algeria”) Malek Bensmaïl and Marie Colonna revisit French and Algerians’ moods and expectations during the seven weeks that separated the official France-Algeria cease-fire on March 19, 1962 from the first elections for the National Algerian Assembly. The film’s website has a trailer.

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