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From: Anna Livia [email@example.com]
6 Favorite African Movies for young people
Dear Fran Osseo-Asare
I would strongly recommend
1. _La Vie est belle_,
set in Zaire and featuring music by the Zairean musician Papa Wemba
(who stars). It's an African rags to riches tale and it works well with
American students (I teach at the University level, but I think the film
would work well for high school students too). A young musician leaves his
home village and looks for work in Kinshasa where he has to compete with
electric and electronic music.
I showed this film with a rock video of the Senegalese singer,
Youssou N'Dour, who has "made it big" in the same way as the hero, Kourou.
I also brought in cds of both Youssou and Papa Wemba's music to give more
context to the film. The cds are available from Barnes and Noble (!). Both
films are from California Newsreel.
2. _Le Franc_
(also from California Newsreel)
By the Senegalese Djibril Diop Mambety, tells the story of an
indigent musician (okay, we have a theme going here) who wins the national
lottery the day the Central African Franc has been devalued by 50%. In
typical Mambety style, the film is deeply ironic, calling into question the
value of both lottery and winning paper money.
also by Mambety, available from California Newsreel
Linguere Ramatou returns to her native village, an aged and
extremely wealthy prostitute. She promises the villagers all the wealth of
the west if they will sacrifice Dramen, a prominent citizen who had earlier
caused her exile. Slowly the dusty little town fills up with incongruous
western consumer goods as hyenas fall upon Dramen.
The value of music (cultural, psychological, emotional) and the value of
money (economically) are themes which I have found work well.
4. _Quartier Mozart_
A very low budget film in which a young girl becomes a boy for a day
so she can learn the secrets of the other sex. The theme of the
ties up well with the feticheur in _La Vie est Belle_. Bekolo, the
director, admits an explicit debt to Spike Lee, and it's interesting
watch this in a double bill with _She's Gotta Have It_.
is interesting too because it shows the clash between generations.
The hero returns from Europe to find the Africa of his idealistic and
nostalgic dreams is not there, instead many young people are turning to
drugs to escape from the corruption and greed of the older generation.
6. Ca Twiste a Poponguine
is a lot of fun. It tells the story of rival teenage gangs who have taken
either French (Johnny Halliday and Sylvie Vartan) or American (Otis Redding)
music idols as their models. They clash with each other and their parents
and elders. This continues the theme of music but shows, with gentle irony,
the cultural imperialism of western models.
I hope this is useful.