November 2013, arsenal cinema



From Ouaga to Antananarivo, more and more festivals have established themselves as showcases for contemporary African cinema. To kick off RE_IMAGING AFRICA, taking place from November 2013 to March 2015 in Berlin, Hamburg, Kassel und several African states, AFRIKAMERA – Aktuelles Kino presents a series of bilaterally curated film programs, in cooperation with the foundation Partnerschaft mit Afrika e.V. The festival opens with VIRGEM MARGARIDA (Mozambique/France/Portugal 2012, 12.11.) by Licínio Azevedo. During the revolutionary turmoil following Mozambique's independence in 1975, the 14-year-old Margarida is arrested on suspicion of being a prostitute and sent to a socialist labor camp. She and other prisoners are supposed to be re-educated in the "spirit of the revolution" but they resist. The award-winning political and historical drama is presented by Burkina Faso's FESPACO festival.

IMBABAZI: THE PARDON(Rwanda 2012, 13.11.) is about the friendship between Manzi and Karema that collapses in 1994 during the civil war in Rwanda. Fifteen years later, Manzi and Karema meet again… In his feature film, the director Joel Karakezi, who survived the war himself, explores in striking fashion the struggle in Rwandan society for justice and forgiveness.

In ESPOIR VOYAGE(Burkina Faso/France 2011, 16.11.) Burkinabe director Michel K. Zongo sets out to find his older brother Joanny who left his village at the age of 14 to try his luck in the Ivory Coast. An exemplary tale of labor migration within Africa and its consequences. The film's producer will attend the screening.

Tunisia's JCC festival presents a selection of films by young directors that deal with political upheavals in African countries. In C'EST EUX LES CHIENS(Morocco 2013, 13.11.) by Hicham Lasri, a TV crew shoots a film about the Arab rebellion on the streets of Casablanca. In the midst of the chaos, the crew notices an older man whose story leads the team back to 1981 when Morocco was shaken by riots.

YEMA (Algeria/France 2012, 16.11.) is the impressive portrait of a mother who withdraws into the Algerian mountains after the death of her son Tarik. Her second son Ali, who is partly responsible for his brother's death, tries to get closer to his mother. In her award-winning feature film, the director Djamila Sahraoui, who also plays the main role, reflects upon the impact of Algeria's civil war on society and family.

LE PRESIDENT(Cameroon/Germany 2012, 17.11.) is the controversial most recent work by Cameroonian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo. A president who has been in power for 42 years leaves the presidential palace, weary of office, the day before the elections and in so doing, lands his country in chaos. Bekolo's film alludes to the current political situation in Cameroon and has only been screened once in public in Africa for fear of repression. The director will be present.

The award-winning documentary ATALAKU (Democratic Republic of Congo/France 2013, 17.11.) gives an insight into Congo’s presidential campaign of 2012. The young director Dieudo Hamdi accompanies the preacher Gaylor in his attempt to mobilize voters on the streets of Kinshasa. Germany premiere in presence of the director.

Filmmaking on the islands of eastern Africa has gone largely unnoticed on the map of world cinema. The head of the Comoros International Film Festival (CIFF), Mohamed Saïd Ouma, presents a selection of contemporary AFRICAN ISLANDS SHORTS (15.11.) for the first time in Germany.

Hachimiya Ahamada's current documentary L'IVRESSE D'UNE OASIS(Comoros 2011, 14.11.) is presented in Germany for the first time. On Comoros, emigrants are called "Je Viens" whereas those who stay behind are called "Je Reste". In 1991, the director's father comes back to his home village for a few weeks, like all "Je Viens," to build a house for his family, which to this day is still not ready.

LES ENFANTS DE TROUMARON (Mauritius 2013, 15.11.) by Harrikrisna and Sharvan Anenden shows the other side of the holiday paradise of Mauritius. The everyday lives of the teenagers Sadiq, Eve, Clelio and Savita in Troumaron, a poor district of the capital Port-Louis, are marked by unemployment, poverty and violence. There is a shimmer of hope as Savita and Eve draw up a plan to leave Troumaron but this fails… The director will attend the premiere.

Emigration and the search for personal identity remain central questions for African filmmakers. GITO (Burundi/France 1992, 16.11.) by Leónce Ngabo is an early comedy about the subject. After a period of study in France, Gito decides to go back to his homeland Burundi. But first he promises his French girlfriend he will fetch her as soon as he has become minister. Of course, nothing goes to plan and his girlfriend is not happy. The director will attend the screening.

AYA DE YOPOUGON (France 2013, 17.11.), an animation film based on the successful eponymous graphic novel by Ivoirian writer Marguerite Abouet, is about the everyday lives of three 19-year-old friends in Yopoung, a working-class district of Abidjan. Aya, who wants to become a doctor, has a daily life with Adjoua and Bintou that is caught between the constraints of the family home and their own plans, between the local nightclub and the search for Mr Right.

RE_IMAGING AFRICA is rounded off by the AFRICA FOR THE FUTURE (14.11.) program. Laza, the artistic director of the Madagascar-based RDFC festival, presents a selection of innovative short films from Tunisia, Gabon, South Africa and Zambia. The curator will attend the screenings.

Further information can be found at (ms/fw)