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Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: January 29th, 2020, 7:32 pm
by blocho
Africa Challenge

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Welcome to the Africa Challenge! One of the annoying things I've noticed when people in the United States speak about Africa is that they refer to it as a single, unified place in a way they never would about Europe or Asia. But Africa, of course, is actually linguistically, geographically, ethnically, and cinematically diverse. It contains 54 sovereign nations as well as various territories and breakaway states. One of the best ways to become familiar with that diversity is by watching movies. And that leads us to our ...


Goal:
Watch as many movies from Africa as you can in February.


Rules:
- Challenge runs February 1, 2020 - February 29, 2020 (Leap Year FTW!).
- A feature film (at least 40 minutes) counts as one point.
- A total of 60 minutes of short films (less than 40 minutes) counts as one point.
- For mini-series, each part (at least 40 minutes) counts as one point. If less than 40 minutes, then the short films rule applies.
- A total of 120 minutes of TV Episodes counts as one point.
- Not a rule but a request: When you post what you have watched, please include your reaction or at least a rating so that other people can learn about movies they might not know about.
- I leave eligibility up to the discretion of participants, but I suggest including movies that were made by Africans rather than merely set or filmed in Africa. In other words, Star Wars and The Lion King are not good choices.


Stats & Formatting:
- Title (Year, Country) is the preferred format. Submissions that do not mention the country will not be counted for the bonus challenges.
- Don't edit posts to include new movies you've watched. Always make new posts.


Official Lists:
Guide to African Cinema
FESPACO
UNESCO's Memory of the World: National Cinematic Heritage (See movies 1-15, 86-100, 160-173, 215-243)
DIFF's The 100 Greatest Arab Films (Please note: Not all movies on this list are eligible)

Unofficial Lists:
ICM Forum's Favorite African Movies
Mubi's Top African Films
African submissions for Best Foreign Language Film


Bonus Challenge #1 - Travel the Continent

Your goal in this bonus challenge is to see something from every country and territory (find the eligibility list below). The maximum possible score is 57. I don't anticipate that anyone will accomplish this, but the person in the lead at the end of the month will win. To participate in this bonus challenge, make sure to indicate which country/territory your entry is from. You may only rely on imdb country listings. If multiple countries are listed on imdb, you choose which one to list in your entry. Once you indicate which country a movie counts for, you can't go back and change it later. For this challenge, any movie, short, TV episode, and miniseries will count for a country. (Random youtube videos, like someone's vacation to Lesotho, will not count.)

Also, if you're going to see a movie from either of the countries with the word Congo in their name, please specify which country. Listing either country as just "Congo" leads to a lot of confusion.
List of eligible countries/territoriesShow
Algeria
Angola
Benin
Botswana
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Comoros
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Eswatini
Ethiopia
Gabon
The Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Ivory Coast
Kenya
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Republic of the Congo
Reunion
Rwanda
Sao Tome and Principe
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
South Sudan
Sudan
Tanzania
Togo
Tunisia
Uganda
Western Sahara
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Bonus Challenge #2 - Individual Country Champions

This is multiple challenges in one: Individual races for the most points for each country/territory, so long as the leader for each country/territory has at least five points. Same rules apply as for Bonus Challenge #1, except that shorts or anything less than 40 minutes will not count for this challenge.




Participants
RankParticipantNumber of PointsNumber of Countries/TerritoriesIndividual Country Leader?
1jdidaco3624Morocco (5)
2Mario Gaborovic3424South Africa (7)
3blueboybob2611Egypt (9)
4sol2212Zimbabwe (5)
5RogerTheMovieManiac88216Nigeria (11)
6Cinepolis119---
7OldAle1109---
8jeroeno98---
9blocho76---
10maxwelldeux65---
10ororama612---
12morrison-dylan-fan44---
13flavo500033---
13cinephage32---
13peeptoad33---
16sebby21---
173eyes11---
17hurluberlu11---
17AB53711---
17allisoncm11---

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: January 29th, 2020, 8:52 pm
by Cinepolis
I'll finally complete Sembene's filmography.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 1st, 2020, 8:02 am
by sol
It starts! First in. :D And that makes three "first in" posts this month with three different films. :woot: I have only done that once before, I think.

1. Neria (1991) Zimbabwe

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This film takes a swipe at traditional native law that whisks a widow's children and property away from her, while also indulging in the beautiful sunsets and picturesque locations of her rural town. This film has an obvious agenda and is in no way a subtle; the acting is a little theatrical too. Still, there is a fair bit of interest here with all the urban/rural contrasts, nifty dream and nightmare sequences and camerawork that is generally mobile and fluid.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 1st, 2020, 3:38 pm
by OldAle1
I'll probably watch a few but I don't think I'll be competitive this time unless I go full steam ahead with Egyptian film.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 1st, 2020, 4:13 pm
by Mario Gaborović
1. Debbas (2014) - Eritrea
2. Kandisha (2008) - Morocco

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 2nd, 2020, 5:44 am
by blocho
1. Touki Bouki (Senegal, 1973)
Not a good start to this challenge for me. I was bored and didn't understand what was going on half the time. But the story had some surrealistic edges, which occasionally was interesting, so at some point I stopped trying to understand and just enjoyed the spectacle.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 2nd, 2020, 1:02 pm
by jeroeno
01. Daratt (Chad, 2006)

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 2nd, 2020, 4:41 pm
by Mario Gaborović
3. Jerusalema (2008) - South Africa

SpoilerShow
1. Debbas (2014) - Eritrea
2. Kandisha (2008) - Morocco

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 2nd, 2020, 6:47 pm
by maxwelldeux
1. The Accidental Spy (2017, Nigeria)

I was curious, so I went with a Nollywood film available on Netflix. It's a remake of a Jackie Chan film by the same name. Was it good? No. Would I recommend anyone watch it? No. But do I regret watching it? No. This is only my first or second Nollywood film, so it's interesting to dip my toe in the water there. The film was in English, though I had to turn on subs to understand it, and I appreciated hearing different accents I'm unfamiliar with. It was just fun to see a different culture doing silly things. A few genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, but by no means some sort of cinematic masterpiece.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 2nd, 2020, 7:17 pm
by morrison-dylan-fan
Thanks for hosting blocho.

1:Repeat viewing: Crumbs (2015)8 (Ethiopia)
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Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 3:52 am
by 3eyes
1. I am not a witch (2017) - Zambia

British-made film shot in Zambia, debut of Zambian-born woman director Rungano Nyoni.
Concerns a child accused of being a witch and sent to a witch camp and then....

Afterwards I read the IMDb reviews, which were all over the place: comedy, tragedy, magical realism... It has elements of all those but mainly It just made me mad - allegations with flimsy "evidence,"fd female chain gangs, exploitation.... I found it on kanopy and recommend it - for this or the women directors challenge in March.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 8:53 am
by Cinepolis
Does Zaire count as the Democratic Republic of Congo?

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 1:33 pm
by blueboybob
1. [Algeria] Ahdat sanawovach el-djamr (1975)

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 2:45 pm
by sol
Nowhere in AfricaShow
1. Neria (1991) Zimbabwe

2. Spud (2010) South Africa

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This coming-of-age comedy has some quirky bits and pieces and there's an intriguing subplot involving a closeted albino student who has a crush on the protagonist but has trouble making a move. Alas, rather than focus on this subplot or the Mandela stuff going on in the backdrop, the film soon narrows its focus to the protagonist choosing between two beautiful potential girlfriends who inexplicably throw themselves at him at every opportunity (!).

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 3:18 pm
by blocho
Cinepolis wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 8:53 am
Does Zaire count as the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Yes

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 4:31 pm
by blueboybob
2. [Cameroon] Muna Moto (1975)

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 5:06 pm
by Mario Gaborović
4. Zambezia (2012) - South Africa
5. You Must Be Joking! (1986) - South Africa

SpoilerShow
1. Debbas (2014) - Eritrea
2. Kandisha (2008) - Morocco
3. Jerusalema (2008) - South Africa

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 5:27 pm
by albajos
Necause of my health can't read subtitles at the moment. That's why I didn't score in the Balkan challenge.

"Thankfully", some of these used to be english colonies, so they still speak english. But outside of South Africa. do any of them actually make movies in english?
I have been in Tanzania but couldn't really find any local movies in the stores there (a lot from India though). And of course we have Nollywood, but the quality is so close to soap that I'll probably stay away.

So outside of South Africa and Nigeria, is there any?

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 6:08 pm
by blocho
blueboybob wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 4:31 pm
2. [Cameroon] Muna Moto (1975)
Do you recommend it?

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 6:19 pm
by blueboybob
blocho wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 6:08 pm
blueboybob wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 4:31 pm
2. [Cameroon] Muna Moto (1975)
Do you recommend it?
YEs! A lot! Really liked this one.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 4th, 2020, 12:10 am
by maxwelldeux
albajos wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 5:27 pm
Necause of my health can't read subtitles at the moment. That's why I didn't score in the Balkan challenge.

"Thankfully", some of these used to be english colonies, so they still speak english. But outside of South Africa. do any of them actually make movies in english?
I have been in Tanzania but couldn't really find any local movies in the stores there (a lot from India though). And of course we have Nollywood, but the quality is so close to soap that I'll probably stay away.

So outside of South Africa and Nigeria, is there any?
Liberia might be one if you can find films from there. I think I've seen one. Nigeria is tough - their English is so heavily pidgin that it's hard to understand. Wife and I turned off one because it didn't have subs, and we couldn't understand their English. The next film had subs, and that was the only way we could get through it.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 4th, 2020, 4:31 am
by blocho
2. La Noire de ... (Senegal, 1966)
I think this is the best African movie I've seen, although admittedly it's a short list. I also admit the narrative itself is a bit simplistic and schematic. But the camerawork was strong, the score was excellent, and the mask was a very powerful symbol.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 4th, 2020, 4:36 am
by jdidaco
Thanks for hosting, blocho!

(Screenshots/gifs from 'Wechma', 'West Indies' & 'Zombies'),

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1. Wechma (Traces, Hamid Benani, 1971) 10/10 (Morocco) (l)
2. Saitane (Satan, Oumarou Ganda, 1973) 7/10 (Niger)
3. West Indies (Med Hondo, 1979) 8.5/10 (Mauritania)
4. Trésors des poubelles (Treasures from the Trash, Samba Félix Ndiaye, 1989) 8/10 (Senegal)
5. Rue Princesse (Henri Duparc, 1994) 7/10 (Côte d'Ivoire)
6. Waqa'i maghribia/Chroniques marocaines (Moroccan Chronicles, Moumen Smihi, 1999) 8/10 (Morocco)
7. Akounak tedalat taha tazoughai (Rain the Color of Blue with a Little Red in It, Christopher Kirkley, 2015) 7.5/10 (Niger)
8. Djon África (João Miller Guerra & Filipa Reis, 2018) 7.5/10 (Cape Verde)

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A collection of shorts,

9-10. La bague du roi Koda (King Koda's Ring, Moustapha Alassane, 1962) 7/10 (24 min) (Niger), Aouré (Wedding Marriage, Moustapha Alassane, 1962) 7.5/10 (21 min) (Niger), Les pierres bleues du désert (The Blue Stones of the Desert, Nabil Ayouch, 1992) 6.5/10 (21 min) (Morocco), Minka (Muhammad Camara, 1994) 7/10 (28 min) (Guinea), Chop My Money (Theo Anthony, 2014) 6/10 (13 min) (Democratic Republic Of Congo), Zombies (Baloji, 2019) 8/10 (15 min) (Democratic Republic Of Congo) (Total: 122 min)

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Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 4th, 2020, 4:49 am
by blocho
You're throwing a lot of fire and smoke at us, jdidaco. Great screen shots.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 4th, 2020, 5:30 am
by maxwelldeux
jdidaco wrote:
February 4th, 2020, 4:36 am
Zombies (Baloji, 2019) 8/10 (15 min) (Democratic Republic Of Congo) (Total: 122 min)

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Zombies was solid - I really enjoyed that. Watched it on MUBI last year (2019 - I have to remind myself) and thought it was a great film - artistic, musical, culturally relevant... :thumbsup:

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 4th, 2020, 2:20 pm
by Cinepolis
1. Mueda, Memoria e Massacre (1981, Mozambique) - 6/10
A filmed social event. The semi-documentary style of cinematography reminded me of Sembene's earlier works. Dragged a bit, but definitely interesting to watch.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 5th, 2020, 7:39 am
by Cinepolis
2. La Vie Est Belle (1987, Zaire/DRC) - 6/10
Light-hearted romcom whose exotical setting makes it stick out from its American counterparts.
3. Allah Tantou (1992, Guinea) - 8/10
A very personal documentary about the Camp Boiro prison. A saddening experience when families are ripped apart and the hopes and dreams of a newly independent Guinea are crushed.
SpoilerShow
1. Mueda, Memoria e Massacre (1981, Mozambique) - 6/10
2. La Vie Est Belle (1987, Zaire/DRC) - 6/10
3. Allah Tantou (1992, Guinea) - 8/10

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 5th, 2020, 12:54 pm
by sol
Nowhere in AfricaShow
1. Neria (1991) Zimbabwe
2. Spud (2010) South Africa

3. Flame (1996) Zimbabwe

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In the twilight years of colonial rule in Zimbabwe, this war drama from the African nation follows two young women who join the local freedom fighters when one of their fathers is forcibly detained by the government. The film is quite curious as an insight into the zeitgeist of Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) at the time - and guerrilla training processes. As a narrative though, the project feels melodramatic and I found the performances to be pretty bland.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 5th, 2020, 1:45 pm
by blueboybob
3. [Côte d'Ivoire] Djeli, conte d'aujourd'hui (1981)
4. [Burkina Faso] Zan Boko (1988)
5. [Côte d'Ivoire] Visages de femmes (1985)
6. [Mali] Guimba, un tyran une époque (1995)

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 6th, 2020, 6:09 am
by jdidaco
blocho wrote:You're throwing a lot of fire and smoke at us, jdidaco. Great screen shots.
Yes, this first batch was indeed full of fire and smoke - ritualistic, utilitarian, violent, oppressive, libertarian. I'm also very excited for the next titles I have lined up for the challenge...

maxwelldeux wrote:Zombies was solid - I really enjoyed that. Watched it on MUBI last year (2019 - I have to remind myself) and thought it was a great film - artistic, musical, culturally relevant... :thumbsup:
Absolutely all that, provocative, sensorial, colorful, and very performative/danceable too! Loved it!

:cheers:

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 6th, 2020, 6:27 am
by jeroeno
02. Yesterday (South Africa, 2004)

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 6th, 2020, 11:24 am
by Cinepolis
4. Sarraounia (1986, Mauritania) - 8/10
Well produced and shot history epic with strong acting. I was surprised by how little screentime Sarraounia actually had, but it made sense story-wise.
SpoilerShow
1. Mueda, Memoria e Massacre (1981, Mozambique) - 6/10
2. La Vie Est Belle (1987, Zaire/DRC) - 6/10
3. Allah Tantou (1992, Guinea) - 8/10
4. Sarraounia (1986, Mauritania) - 8/10

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 6th, 2020, 1:21 pm
by blueboybob
7. [Zaire] La vie est belle (1987)

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 10:32 am
by peeptoad
1. The Blue Elephant (2014) 8 Egypt

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 11:11 am
by sol
Nowhere in AfricaShow
1. Neria (1991) Zimbabwe
2. Spud (2010) South Africa
3. Flame (1996) Zimbabwe

4. Hyenas (1992) Senegal

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Adapted from the same play as the powerful The Visit, it is certainly curious to see the material taken to an African setting here with some real zany elements (she hires a Ferris wheel for the desert town!) that highlight the power of money to influence and manipulate. The film lacks the black and white photography and Kafkaesque paranoia of The Visit, however, we do see his anxiety as he begins to believe that everyone has been bribed.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 1:20 pm
by sol
Nowhere in AfricaShow
1. Neria (1991) Zimbabwe
2. Spud (2010) South Africa
3. Flame (1996) Zimbabwe
4. Hyenas (1992) Senegal

5. Yeelen (1987) Mali

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The landscapes of Mali look great here, often filmed in unusual colours. Purple lighting filters are used particularly well to show off grassier areas at twilight (see above) and the protagonist's mother praying while seemingly purple water trickles down her face looks gorgeous. As a narrative though, the film is unfortunately less interesting. The whole thing feels random, roundabout and highly episodic and I didn't care for any of the characters.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 2:30 pm
by peeptoad
sol wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 1:20 pm

5. Yeelen (1987) Mali
Good to hear the visuals are decent here... this one is on my (unfortunately exceedingly short) list for this month. :thumbsup:

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 3:24 pm
by sol
peeptoad wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 2:30 pm
sol wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 1:20 pm

5. Yeelen (1987) Mali
Good to hear the visuals are decent here... this one is on my (unfortunately exceedingly short) list for this month. :thumbsup:
Sure... but the visuals are all that the film really has going for it, and the intense purple scenes (as in my screenshot) are few and far between.

I think you'd do better by checking out Hyenas instead - though you should really see the masterful The Visit beforehand, so making time for both movies might not be too economical. If I was to make recommendations beyond the films that I have seen for the current Challenge, I would give first priority to either Cairo Station or Xala or Heritage Africa. Can't go too wrong with any of those. The first kinda turns into a psychological thriller.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 3:32 pm
by peeptoad
sol wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 3:24 pm
peeptoad wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 2:30 pm
sol wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 1:20 pm

5. Yeelen (1987) Mali
Good to hear the visuals are decent here... this one is on my (unfortunately exceedingly short) list for this month. :thumbsup:
Sure... but the visuals are all that the film really has going for it, and the intense purple scenes (as in my screenshot) are few and far between.
...then I'll be sure to inhale deeply beforehand. B)
Thanks for the notes on the others; I'll see what else I can squeeze into this short month.

Re: Africa Challenge (Official, February 2020)

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 7:38 pm
by blueboybob
8. [Mali] Finye (1982)