SIXTEENTH ANNUAL CASCADE FESTIVAL OF AFRICAN FILMS
Note: Program notes and resources will be added as the festival progresses.
Opening Night at the McMenamins Kennedy School
THE HERO / O HEROI (Angola, 2004, 97 min.), directed by Zézé Gamboa. This year’s festival opens with a powerful film about devastation and hope in post-war Angola. Director Gamboa’s first feature film follows the efforts of an army veteran, Vitório, to obtain and then hold on to a prosthetic leg, so that he can secure a livelihood and restore his self-esteem. His fate crosses that of a young orphan slipping into life on the street, who will either bring Vitório further pain and despair or become a source of his eventual renewal. Winner of the World Dramatic Grand Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. In Portuguese with English subtitles.
Friday, February 3, 5:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. (open to all ages), and 9:00 p.m. (21 & older). McMenamins Kennedy School Theatre, 5736 N.E. 33rd Avenue.
DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE (Tanzania/Austria/France, 2004, 107 min.), directed by Hubert Sauper. Winner of Best Documentary awards all over the world, Darwin’s Nightmare is an all-too-real parable of the intersection of globalization and ecological disruption. The Nile Perch, introduced as an experiment into the waters of Lake Victoria in the 1960s, has wiped out nearly all the lake’s native fish species. It has simultaneously become a highly desirable export commodity, frequently traded for illicit weapons to support the wars that are devastating the region. Haunting and deeply disturbing, Darwin’s Nightmare is a must-see for anyone interested in environmental and global issues. In English, Russian, and Swahili with English subtitles.
Saturday, February 4, 2 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC-Cascade.
HERITAGE (Nigeria, 2003, 90 min.), directed by Ladi Ladebo. This latest film by one of Nigeria’s most venerable directors revolves around the illicit sale and exportation of Yoruba spiritual artifacts to wealthy individuals and museums in the West (which rarely occurs without the participation of powerful individuals in the Nigerian government). A Nigerian professor of Anthropology refuses to go along with this “obnoxious rape of their people” and is made to pay the price for his stubbornness when he protects the rare bronze chest of Oduduwa, spiritual progenitor of the Yoruba. He is joined by a young African-American doctoral student, who comes to learn just how much of his own identity is connected to this land, and to these objects of beauty and power. In English.
Saturday, February 4, 7:30 p.m. Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building, Room 104, PCC-Cascade.
TASUMA, THE FIGHTER (Burkina Faso, 2003, 90 min.), directed by Daniel Kollo Sanou. Tasuma is a long-retired former colonial soldier for the French, veteran of conflicts in Indochina and Algeria. He has been waiting all these years for his tiny pension from the French government, an amount that would be insignificant in France but is a small fortune in poor Burkina Faso. Certain that his money will come any day, Tasuma purchases a mill for the women in his village on credit, and becomes a big shot, admired by all. But what to do when the money does not come? With strong comedy, beautiful locations, and a powerful message, this film was extremely popular in Burkina Faso, home to many of the continent’s strongest films. In French with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 9, 12:00 p.m., and Friday, February 10, 7:30 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
MALUALA (Cuba, 1979, 89 min.), directed by Sergio Giral. In Spanish with English subtitles. A celebrated film on a long-suppressed topic, Maluala derives its title from the name of one of the “Palenques,” or “Pallisades,” armed villages hidden away in the hills, created by the “Marrones,” or runaway slaves during the Spanish colonial period. Here, the Spanish governor does all he can to lure the resistance leaders to betray their followers and become officers in his army. Some do, some do not, with equally tragic consequences. Tragic, perhaps, but also deeply inspiring. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 9, 1:45 p.m., and Saturday, February 11, 7:30 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
Thursday Evening Documentary Series/Africa in Mexico, with Director Rafael Rebollar Corona
LA RAIZ OLVIDADA/THE FORGOTTEN ROOT (Mexico, 2001, 50 min.), directed by Rafael Rebollar Corona. In discussions of Mexican identity, we frequently hear of the “twin roots” of Mexican culture: the Spanish and the Indigenous, Native American roots. Yet there is also a little-discussed third root, the “forgotten root” of the Africans who were brought to Mexico as slaves or who escaped from slavery in the U.S. This film illuminates the legacy of this third root in the regions of Veracruz in the east and the Costa Chica region of Guerrero and Oaxaca in the west. In Spanish with English subtitles. Director Rafael Rebollar Corona will introduce the film and then comment and answer questions following it. His presence is made possible by a generous grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust.
Thursday, February 9, 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday, February 11, 10 a.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
FROM FLORIDA TO COAHUILA (Mexico, 2002, 50 min.), directed by Rafael Rebollar Corona. This second film by Rafael Rebollar Corona will be screened as part of the Symposium and Community Conversation on Saturday. It focuses on those Africans who escaped from slavery in the United States, made their way to Florida, where they inter-married with the Seminoles (creating the group known as the Black Seminoles), fought to preserve their freedom, eventually made their way into Mexico, and gradually integrated into that culture. A fascinating exploration of a cultural identity that transcends the constraints of political borders.
Saturday, February 11, 11 a.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
SYMPOSIUM ON THE AFRICAN LEGACY IN MEXICO and COMMUNITY CONVERSATION
This program will provide an opportunity for community members to learn more about the history and cultural influence of Africans in Mexico. It will be preceded in the morning by screenings of The Forgotten Root and From Florida to Coahuila, two films by Rafael Rebollar Corona. In the afternoon the director will by joined by Dr. Sagrario Cruz, Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Veracruz for an exploration of the Afro-Mexican identity. This will be followed by a conversation on the African-American and Hispanic communities in the Portland area, led by leaders from those communities. This program is made possible by a generous grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.
Saturday, February 11, 10:00 a.m. to noon (film screenings) and 1:00-4:00 p.m. (symposium and conversation), Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
SOMETIMES IN APRIL (Rwanda, 2005, 140 min.), directed by Raoul Peck. The director of Lumumba and L’Homme Sur Les Quais was invited by HBO Films to make a fiction film set in 1994 Rwanda, which would show us the massacres from an African perspective. The film succeeds brilliantly, with very strong acting by Idris Elba (Stringer Bell in the HBO series, The Wire) and a focus on Rwandans on both sides of the ethnic divide (and many caught in the middle). This print comes to us courtesy of HBO Films.
Thursday, February 16, 12:00 p.m. and Friday, February 17, 7:30 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
SOPHIA’S HOMECOMING (Namibia, 1997, 26 min.), directed by Richard Pakleppa. This short film, made for Namibian television, tells the story of a woman who must leave her family and village in order to find work as a housekeeper to a white family in the capital. It is necessary for survival, but it is highly disruptive for her and her family. A film about betrayal and loss, but without heroes, villains, or facile judgment. In Nama with English subtitles.
HOT CHILI (Botswana, 2003, 45 min.), directed by Moabi Mogorosi. Written, directed, and starring a young Botsawan who began working on the film while a student in the U.S., Hot Chili is a mythical tale of love that transcends social caste. A humble gardener is in love with the king’s daughter, but the king will have none of it, for there are plenty of young nobles from whom to select his future son-in-law. To narrow the field, he decides on a competition involving young men and chili peppers. This first film from Botswana is a delightful tribute to the power of love—and of will power! In English and Setswanan with English subtitles. We expect the producers of Hot Chili to be in attendance on Saturday evening and to answer questions after the film.
Thursday, February 16, 2:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 17, 8:00 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
Thursday Evening Documentary Series/Remembering Rwanda
KEEPERS OF MEMORY (Rwanda, 2004, 54 min.), directed by Eric Kabera.
With IN RWANDA WE SAY…THE FAMILY THAT DOES NOT SPEAK DIES (Rwanda, 2004, 54 min.), directed by Anne Aghion. Tonight’s program features two documentaries about the legacy of the 1994 massacres in that country. Keepers of Memory focuses on the witnesses and the surviving victims. Many bear the physical scars of the terrible attacks; they are all bound by the emotional and spiritual scars of memory. This is a film about the complex, difficult relationship between remembering and letting go. In Rwanda We Say . . . explores what happens when individuals suspected or convicted of horrendous crimes against humanity are eventually released and return home. Is it possible for the perpetrators and the surviving victims to live side-by-side again? Can they achieve the government’s vision of a “united Rwandan family”? Is true communication and trust ever again possible? This acclaimed documentary poses these questions, and leads us to some tentative, profound answers. Both films in Kinyarwanda with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 16, 7:30 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
Sponsored by Providence Health Systems
WELCOME TO MALI (Mali, 2005, 20 min.) and KO-FALEN/THE GIFT EXCHANGE (Mali/USA, 2005, 25 min..), directed by Penda June Diakité and Baba Wagué Diakité. Welcome to Mali records a 12-year-old’s trip to Bamako, Mali, where her father (Portland artist Baba Wagué Diakité) was born and raised, a regular ritual in her family. It introduces American children like herself to a place very different from her home in Portland, but one that she loves just as much. Ko-Falen tells of the gift exchange that takes place when the family and friends of Baba Wagué Diakité deliver school supplies, purchased with money raised by students at Jackson Middle School in Portland, to the villagers of Soni Tieni in Mali. The entire village turns out to thank them and to celebrate the occasion with music, song, dance, and acrobatic feats.
with COMING TO ENGLAND (Trinidad/UK, 2002, 60 min.). An adaptation of British television celebrity Floella Benjamin’s popular children’s book, which tells the story of her journey as a young Black girl from the warmth and security of Trinidad to the cold, alien shores of Britain in the 1960s. An inspiring story of struggle and triumph, it features Floella herself, playing the teacher. This film comes to us courtesy of the BBC.
Saturday, February 17, 2 p.m., McMenamins Kennedy School Theatre, 5736 N.E. 33rd Avenue.
THE OTHER WORLD (Algeria, 2001, 92 min.), directed by Merzak Allouache. This latest film from one of CFAF audiences’ favorite directors (Bab el-Oued City, Salut Cousin!), follows Yasmine, a young Franco-Algerian woman who follows her lost lover to Algeria, where he has become enmeshed in the civil strife and terrorism in that country. Risking her life and her identity, she confronts the volatile reality of contemporary Algeria, which is very different from the comfortable illusions that she nurtured in France. A powerful, provocative, and very relevant film. In French and Arabic with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 23, 12:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 25, 7:30 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
Thursday Evening Documentary Series
ALL ABOUT DARFUR (2005, Sudan/U.K., 82 min.), directed by Taghreed Elsanhouri. If last week was our time to remember Rwanda and to ponder the legacy of the massacres there, this film reminds us that “Never Again!” has been a hollow promise. It also reminds us that if the painful, horrid effects of ethnic cleansing are clear, the causes and underlying motivations are quite complex. Here we get an inside view of the Darfur complexities, through the eyes of a director who is herself from Sudan and who returns to her native country in order to seek understanding. An extremely informative film, All About Darfur is both a call to action and a plea for understanding. In Arabic with English subtitles and English.
Thursday, February 23, 7:30 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
YESTERDAY (South Africa, 2004, 96 min.), directed by Darrell Roodt. The first South African film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Yesterday is the poignant, compassionate story of a young rural mother (named Yesterday) coming to terms with having been infected with the HIV virus and worrying about the future of her daughter, named Beauty. Yesterday is played with great warmth and emotional candor by Leleti Khumalo, star of Sarafina! and Cry, the Beloved Country. This film manages to deal with the dreaded disease in a manner that is neither sensational nor maudlin, yet is deeply compelling. In Zulu with English subtitles. This print comes to us courtesy of HBO Films.
Friday, February 24, 7:00 p.m., Hollywood Theatre, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd.
- Link to HBO website for Yesterday, including interview with Director Darrell James Roodt
- Program Notes by Michael Dembrow
Children and HIV/AIDS in Africa
THE BALL (Mozambique, 2001, 5 min.), directed by Orlando Mesquita. As part of Mozambique’s efforts to combat the HIV virus, more than 20 million condoms are distributed annually. However, not all are used for their intended purpose! Take a group of kids, some condoms, and a lot of ingenuity, and the result is this delightful little film. In Ximanica with English subtitles.
THE SKY IN HER EYES (South Africa, 2001, 11 min.), directed by Ouida Smit and Madoda Ncayiyana. A young girl in rural Natal Province, who has lost her mother to AIDS, is overwhelmed with misery. But she finds a miraculous way to restore contact with her mother, thanks to a friendly boy, his kite, and the spiritual power of the imagination. In Zulu with English subtitles.
STATE OF DENIAL (South Africa, 2003, 83 min.), directed by Elaine Epstein. State of Denial introduces us to a cross-section of South Africans involved with the AIDS epidemic. It shows how they have had to fight not only the disease but the greed of the international pharmaceutical companies and the denial of their own government. In Sotho, Zulu, and English with English subtitles
LIVING WITH SLIM: Kids Talk About HIV/AIDS Uganda, 2004, 28 min.), directed by Sam Kauffmann. A series of compelling interviews with Ugandan children (ages 6 to 17) born with the HIV virus. They recount their experiences dealing with the challenges caused by the physical effects of the disease, and with the stigma of being HIV-positive. Filled with both despair and hope, these are honest, very human portraits of the legacy of this disease.
Saturday, February 25, 2:00 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
Women Filmmakers Week
TAHARA (USA/Egypt, 2005, 18 min.), directed by Sara Rashad. Amina is an Egyptian living in Los Angeles, whose daughter Suha has arrived at the age where she should be going through the traditional rite of circumcision. The mother is caught between pressure from her own mother to circumcise, her mixed memories of her own circumcision, and her fears about the health (and legal) risks inherent in the practice. A film made with passion and perseverance, Tahara was Sara Rashad’s graduation film for her degree in filmmaking from USC.
Thursday, March 2, 12:00 p.m. and Friday, March 3, 7:30 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
KARE KARE ZVAKO/MOTHER’S DAY (Zimbabwe, 2004, 30 min.), directed by Tsitsi Dangarembga. This new film by the talented author of Nervous Conditions and director of Everyone’s Child (1996) and several documentaries, Kare Kare Zvako is a striking departure from the realistic style of her earlier work. Based on a traditional Shona tale about greed, faithlessness, and retribution, the film is an inventive mixture of genres and styles. Into the mix are placed a loyal mother, a no-good husband, a time of drought, hungry children, grilled termites, cannibalism, and a dizzying array of music. A Best Short Film winner at many festivals. In Shona with English subtitles.
Thursday, March 2, 12:30 p.m. and Friday, March 3, 8:00 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
HOLLOW CITY (Angola, 2004, 88 min.), directed by Maria João Ganga.
In Portuguese with English subtitles. Another remarkable new film from Angola. We follow a young boy, N’dala, who has been orphaned and displaced by the Angolan revolution. Homeless in the capital city of Luanda, he enters a world that is foreign, alluring, and dangerous. In her first feature film, Maria João Ganga uses this boy’s story to ponder the future of her war-torn country. In Portuguese with English subtitles.
Thursday, March 2, 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 4, 7:30 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
Thursday Evening Documentary Series/Women Filmmakers Week
AL’LÈÈSSI…AN AFRICAN ACTRESS (Niger, 2004, 69 min.), directed by Rahmatou Keita. Rahmatou Keita has chosen to make her first feature film about a woman who was in many ways an inspiration to her: the actress Zalika Souley, one of the first African women film stars. Known for her “Bad Girl” roles in films from the Sixties, she was a scandalous figure in that Muslim region before her career imploded. Blending archival footage with extended interviews with Souley, Keita builds a film that clearly captures the confluence of cinema, gender, and dream. In French with English subtitles.
KUXA KANEMA (Mozambique, 2003, 52 min.), directed by Margarida Cardoso. This documentary is a testimony to the travails of the National Institute of Cinema (I.N.C.), created by newly-independent Mozambique in 1975. Using newly-unearthed film footage, Kuxa Kanema reveals the dreams, aspirations, frustrations, and demise of the I.N.C.—and of the socialist government of Samora Machel that nurtured it. In Portuguese with English subtitles.
Thursday, March 2, 7:30 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
AFRICA: OPEN FOR BUSINESS (Various African Countries, 2004, 60 min.), directed by Carol Pineau.
This film is a proud, defiant call for the world to look at Africa in a different way, through the words of a new generation of entrepreneurs and managers. It focuses on ten successful companies from around sub-Saharan Africa: in Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Somalia, Congo, Lesotho, Senegal, and Uganda. Some are in expected industries in expected locations, but most are not. The message is clearly articulated in the film’s title. This film, funded by the World Bank, is full of provocative challenges to the Western viewer, particularly to those with anti-globalization leanings. It will definitely engender debate.
Saturday, March 4, 2:00 p.m., Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building 104, PCC Cascade Campus.
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