KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS (1998)
Director Michel Ocelot
This animated west African folk tale will delight the younger audiences at this festival. In a little village somewhere in Africa, a boy named Kirikou is born in a spectacular way. But he’s not a normal boy, because he can speak and walk immediately after being born. He discovers that his mother is in trouble at the hands of an evil sorceress and with tiny but steely determination sets about coming to her rescue. The animation in this charming film is highly stylized with vibrant colours. Senegalese superstar Youssou N’ Dour’s sound track enhances the story. This film is suitable for all ages.
NIGER MAGIC AND ECSTASY IN THE SAHEL
Director Hisham Mayet
A celebration of life in the Sahel region of Africa, this film showcases many of Niger’s venerable music styles. Tuareg Electric Guitar trance rock, Bori cult dance ceremonies, Fulani Folk, and Roadhouse Gospel Rave-ups are some of the segments included in this latest “Folk Cinema” classic from Sublime Frequencies! Filmed in December 2004 on location in Niger, delivers a spontaneous, raw, and inspiring collection of images, music, and ceremony with a single camera presentation. As its director says; ‘Music. Dig it!’
MUSICAL BROTHERHOODS FROM THE TRANS-SAHARAN HIGHWAY
Director Hisham Mayet.
Filmed in 2005 by Hisham Mayet, predominately at the Jemaa Al Fna in Marrakesh Morocco, ‘Musical Brotherhoods of the Trans-Saharan Highway’ captures an assortment of spectacular musical dramas presented live and unfiltered on the home turf of the world’s most dynamic string and drum specialists performing and manifesting the ecstatic truth. Ancient mystical brotherhoods have been flourishing for centuries in and around the cities of Marrakesh and Essaouira in Morocco where the trade caravans have gathered from their long journeys across the Trans-Saharan Highway. This is some of the last great street music on Earth. A must see for string aficionados looking for inspiration as electric ouds, banjos, mandolins and the Gnawa sentir peel flesh from bone right before your eyes!
Directed by Abderrahame Sissako
This touching film provides a view into political and personal life in the Malian city Bamako. On the surface it is the story of a relationship on the verge of breaking down between a bar singer Mele and her unemployed husband Chaka. Their living space which they share with other families has been taken over by a people’s court that their neighbours have set up to prosecute the international financial institutions that they blame for their poverty. This film castigates the international financial systems which have impoverished so many countries in the majority world. At heart this is a hopefull piece and in its way it adds to the many voices which have sought to energise civil society to resist the injustices of world trade. Mauritanian director Sissako grew up in Mali where this film is set. He spent ten years in Moscow at the VGIK Film school.His films deal with exile and the relationship between Africa and the West.
CLOUDS OVER CONAKRY (2007)
Director Cheik Fantamady Camara
Galway’s First African Film Festival is delighted to have the opportunity to give this award winning film its Irish Premiere. It tells the story of BB, a cartoonist from a Muslim family who finds himself selected by his father to go on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to study the Qouran.His relationship with a modern young woman, the daughter of a secular newspaper editor and a travel agent is put under strain by his difficulty in resisting his father’s wishes. The director packs his story with detail and dilemmas that will be familiar to all nationalities. The film is doggedly contemporary and vibrant. The early part is full of music,dance and flashes of humour,but it develops into a darker piece that takes a critical stance on issues of religion, tradition and society’s expectations. Lead actor Alex Ogou (BB)will introduce the film and will be our guest for the duration of the Festival.
AZUR & ASMAR:THE PRINCES QUEST (2006)
Director Michel Ocelot.
From the same director as Kirikou and the Sorceress, Michel Ocelot takes North Africa and its art as his inspiration. Taken from a fairytale this story will enchant children and give their parents a welcome hour of peace on a bank holiday Monday! The story is one of two small boys; one blonde and one darkskinned. As children they are inseperable and enjoy tales told to them by their nurse of a djinn fairy that is waiting to be rescued by a good and handsome prince. After years of seperation the boys are reunited but they face a problem as both wish to be the saviour of the djinn fairy.
WAITING FOR HAPPINESS (2002)
Director Abderrahame Sissako.
Though this is the second film in our programme from Mauritanian director Sissako is completly different from Bamako the first. This dreamy and athmospheric film has won eight awards at festivals including the international critics prize at Cannes in 2002. The lead actor Katra Ould Abder Kader brings great depth to the isolation and displacement his character feels. Having returned to his village for an interlude before leaving for Europe, the seventeen year old apprentice electrician inhabits a place on the periphery of life there that guides the viewer on a philisophical journey. This film’s slow pace, spectacular camera work and West African soundtrack create a magic that will resonate with its viewers long after the screening.
BUNNY CHOW (2007)
Director John Barker.
This politically incorrect racous comedy takes its name from a type of fast food which emerged in South Africans Indian communities during the apartheid era in south Africa. Bunny chow is a slang term for a meal consisting of a loaf of bread with the inside scooped out and replaced with curry. Three comedians embark on a manic weekend journey to Oppikoppi, South Africa’s biggest rock festival. Hoping for mass debauchery, drugs, rampant sex, and true love and conquering the comedy stages, but they get a bit more than they bargained for. Filmed in black and white and making use of strictly non traditional forms of filming (mobile phones!) this experimental comedy will be of interest to aspiring film makers as well as a young audience.
AFRICA UNITE (2008)
This documentary was filmed in Ethiopia at the 2005 Africa Unite concert which featured the music of the legendary and inspirational rastafarian musician, Bob Marley. Africa Unite is a masterfully executed film that is at once concert tribute, Marley family travelogue, and humanitarian documentary. It ignites the screen with the spirit of world-renowned reggae icon Bob Marley in its every frame. In commemoration of Bob’s 60th birthday, Africa Unite is centered on the Marley’s first-time-ever family trip to Ethiopia in 2005 and includes rare footage of Marley. In the hands of Stephanie Black director of the polemic ‘Life and Debt’ the humanitarian concerns and political commentary in this inspirational film are never misplaced. Bob Marley fans will delight in this brand new film.