Back in Scotland for the twelfth year in a row, Africa in Motion brings the best in African cinema to Edinburgh and Glasgow this October and November. Much like the continent itself, the programme is packed with vibrancy, artistry and no small amount of political conflict and controversy and will take up residence at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse from Fri 27 October until Sun 5 November.
Featuring films both new and old and with directors, curators and activists on hand to participate in Q and A’s after many of the screenings, the event is sure to provide a stimulating insight into many different cultures, countries and life stories. The full programme is now available for perusal, but The Wee Review has hand-picked a few of its own highlights for eager cinematic beavers to get their chompers into.
Ahmed El Maanouni / Morocco / 1981 / 90 mins
Nass El Ghiwane have been hailed on home soil as North Africa’s answer to the Rolling Stones. In 1981, filmmaker Ahmed El Maanouni released Trances, part concert documentary and part audiovisual experiment, as he sought to distil the band’s sound and political identity into a 90-minute film. This screening will be followed by the short film Aïta and will feature a Q and A with the directors of both movies.
Selma Baccar / Tunisia / 1976 / 60 mins
When it was first released over 40 years ago, Fatma 75 was Tunisia’s first female-produced, non-fiction film and served as something of a rallying call to the feminist cause. Sadly still just as relevant today as it was then, the movie features strong females from the northern country and has been restored and subtitled by Africa in Motion for its UK debut, which will be followed by a Q and A with the director herself.
Pascale Lamche / South Africa, France, Netherlands / 2017 / 98 mins
While her husband’s portrayal as national hero and global icon has been fairly straightforward and almost unanimously accepted, Winnie Mandela’s identity is rather more problematic. With Nelson’s struggle taking place largely behind bars, Winnie took to the front lines to fight for her people and her cause. This film looks into the woman behind the headlines and features a Q and A with women’s rights campaigner and anti-Apartheid activist Firdoze Bulbulia.
Harold M Shaw / South Africa / 1916 / 54 mins
The oldest surviving feature film from a country with a political history as tumultuous as South Africa’s will undoubtedly have aged somewhat. Telling the story of the Boers’ Great Trek and the gruesome Battle of Blood River (1838), the movie has been labelled as racist and highly contentious, but still retains its important place at the beginning of the country’s cinematic tradition. This screening will be accompanied by a live performance of Nigerian composer Juwon Ogungbe’s original score.
This 12A-rated film is certainly suitable for a younger audience, but not exclusively so. An animated parable on how to extract hopes and dreams from even the darkest fears and memories, the story follows five orphaned youngsters from Swaziland as they delve into their imaginations to deliver an exciting, genre-spanning meditation on the ancient art of storytelling. The husband-and-wife directorial duo will be on hand for a Q and A after the proceedings.