Born in a small township near Gondar in northwest Ethiopia, Yityish Aynaw recently became the latest Miss Israel. And then made some dumb comments about Ethiopian heritage and beauty. (“We have these chiseled faces. Everything is in the right place,” she said. “I never saw an Ethiopian who was stuck with some big nose.”) Which reminded me of the fairly new 400 Miles to Freedom, Avishai Mekonen’s film about Ethiopian immigrants who left their homes to make a living in Israel, and what they found there. It is also about Judaism and race. Trailer above.
Also about migration, but of a different kind, is Comme un Lion (“Like a lion”). Mytri is a young Senegalese football player who’s offered a contract and a bright future in France by one of those many talent scouts swerving through West Africa. Once in Paris, that future turns out to be not quite what Mytri imagined it to be. Director Samuel Collardey’s style of realism has been compared with that of Ken Loach. One to watch:
(Related: I read Benoît Poelvoorde is working on a similarly-themed film.)
Produced by the German Goethe Institute’s Sudan Film Factory, Cinema Behind Bars tells a story of cinema in Sudan. Bahaeldin Ibrahim takes the viewer on a journey to Atbara; “Not spectacularly, but quietly and carefully”:
Sobukwe: A Great Soul recently won best documentary feature at a Saftas gala best quickly forgotten. Its director, South African Mickey Madoda Dube, also won the best director award. Percy Zvomuya wrote an introductory review of the docu-drama about the life of Pan Africanist Congress leader Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe when it first came out.
And another documentary to watch out for is Malian director Souleymane Cissé’s portrait and homage to legendary Senegalese film maker, writer and philosopher Ousmane Sembène (in the photo left). Title: O Sembène! I haven’t come across a trailer yet, but the first reviews (in French) are promising. Like this one for example. Choice quote by Sembène: “Europe is not the center, it is on the outskirts of Africa” (“L’Europe n’est pas le centre, elle est la périphérie de l’Afrique”).