KINI AND ADAMS
(1997, Burkina Faso/Zimbabwe, 93 min.), directed by Idrissa Ouedraogo.
We open this year's festival with the first English-language film by festival favorite Ouedraogo from Burkina Faso, director of Yaaba, Tilaï, and Samba Traoré. Made in Zimbabwe with a South African cast, Kini and Adams is the story of two men, one a bachelor and one a family man, living in an isolated, impoverished rural area, who dream of moving to the city and becoming taxi drivers. They have somehow acquired the carcass of an automobile, and they spend their days and nights tinkering with it. When the nearby quarry reopens, money pours into the village, and the two dreamers find themselves with the means to restore the car. But along with the new money come changes that will profoundly affect their dreams and their relationship. A very rich film, Shakespearean in its blend of humor and drama, extremely powerful in its acting, skillfully filmed and edited, Kini and Adams was justifiably nominated for the Palme D'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival. In English.
Thursday, February 4, 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., at McMenamins Kennedy School Theatre, 5736 NE 33rd Avenue, Portland.
McMenamins will provide light refreshments between the two shows.
Read the Program Notes for Kini and Adams.
(1997, Mali, 95 min.), directed by Adama Drabo.
Taafe Fanga (Skirt Power) is a comic but insightful look at sexual politics in Africa today, though it is set among the Dogon of the 18th Century. Through trickery and magic, the men of a Dogon town are made to believe that their survival depends upon their exchanging gender roles with the women of the town. So the women become the hunters, drinkers, deliberators, and bosses, while the men are forced to become the virtual servants that their wives and daughters had formerly been. While the men gain a new understanding of the burdens borne by the women, they not surprisingly find that the women are in no hurry to return to their former situation. In Kaado and Bambara with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 11, 12:00 p.m., and Friday, February 12, 7:30 p.m., in Terrell Hall, Room 122, PCC Cascade Campus.
Read the Program Notes for Taafe Fanga.
(1997, Senegal, 85 min.), directed by Moussa Sene Absa.
By the director of Ca Twiste à Poponguine, Tableau Ferraille is set in a fictional present day Senegal--fictional, but in many ways a very realistic portrayal of the realities of post-colonialist exploitation and corruption. The central character is Daam (played by music superstar Ismael Lô), a young government official, who is European-educated and politically naive; he is no match for the conniving entrepreneur, Président. When Daam decides to take a second wife to join his beautiful but infertile first wife, he plays right into Président's self-serving hands. In Wolof and French with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 11, 1:45 p.m., and Saturday, February 13, 7:30 p.m., in Terrell Hall, Room 122, PCC Cascade Campus.
Read the Program Notes for Tableau Ferraille.
(1996, Cameroon/Zimbabwe, 72 min.), directed by Jean-Pierre Bekolo.
In 1995, to celebrate the centenary of motion pictures, the British Film Institute commissioned films from a number of the worldís top film artists. The African filmmaker chosen was Jean-Pierre Bekolo, the young, iconoclastic director of Quartier Mozart (1992). His contribution was Aristotle's Plot, a multivalent meditation on African cinema, a film that speaks both to Hollywood and to other African filmmakers. The film is set in a nameless, allegorical southern African town, where a group of wannabe gangstas--who call themselves Van Damme, Bruce Lee, Nikita, Saddam, and Cinema--hang out at the Cinema Africa, feeding on a steady diet of action flicks. The earnest young Cineaste appears and tries to convince the government to clean up Cinema Africa, replacing Schwarzenegger with Sembène. When the government shows no interest, the Cineaste turns vigilante. In English.
Thursday, February 18, 12:00 p.m., and Friday, February 19, 7:30 p.m., in Terrell Hall, Room 122, PCC Cascade Campus.
Read the Program Notes for Aristotle's Plot.
FARAW! MOTHER OF THE DUNES
(1997, Mali, 90 min.), directed by Abbdoulaye Ascofaré.
Director Ascofaré spent four years making this fictional homage to his mother, brilliantly played by Aminata Ousmane, who won the Best Actress award at FESPACO (the Pan-African Film Festival). Zamiatou finds herself with a husband broken both physically and mentally by his improper detainment in a government prison. She has three children, an empty house, no animals, and no money with which to buy rice. Her teenage daughter, Hareyrata, dreams of finding work at the nearby European settlement. Zamiatou herself goes there to offer her services as a maid, but the European bachelors (executives in a nearby mine) only want domestics who are young, beautiful, and willing to offer "comfort"; they are more than willing to take her daughter, but not her. Zamiatou, the eternal mother, is determined to protect her family, and she ultimately finds the inner wellsprings of resilience and ingenuity that will bring them nourishment. Set in the stark, barren beauty of the Sahel, Faraw! is a simple but stunning film. In Songhoï with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 18, 1:30 p.m., and Saturday, February 20, 7:30 p.m., in Terrell Hall, Room 122, PCC Cascade Campus.
Read the Program Notes for Faraw! Mother of the Dunes.
THE LAND (AL-ARD)
(1969, Egypt, 130 min.), directed by Youssef Chahine.
This classic film by Egypt's greatest filmmaker was named the best Egyptian film ever made in a recent poll of Egyptian film critics. The Land, which took eight years to make, is an epic story of the plight of villagers who want only to be left in peace to till their land and lead their lives. However, they are at the mercy of far-off bureaucrats who care only for the wishes of the large landowners. Like many films south of the Sahara, The Land brings to life the intimate relations between the peasant men and women and the land (as well as the water) that sustains them. It also shows what happens when they say enough is enough. In Arabic with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 25, 12:00 p.m., and Friday, February 26, 7:30 p.m., in Terrell Hall, Room 122, PCC Cascade Campus.
Read the Program Notes for The Land (Al-Ard).
(1988, Guinea-Bissau, 85 min.), directed by Flora Gomes.
Audiences at the 1996 Cascade Festival enjoyed Flora Gomes' second film, The Blue Eyes of Yonta (1991). Gomes' first film, Mortu Nega (meaning ìthose that death did not wantî) has now become available, and we are pleased to show it this year. Set during the Liberation struggle (which ended in 1973) and immediately after, it is the story of one woman, Diminga, whose husband, Soko, is fighting on the front lines, her devotion to him and to the cause of independence, and the high human cost of the war against the Portuguese. The end of the war brings euphoria, but no easy solutions. Mortu Negaís intimate love story and its epic historical tale are woven together seamlessly, combining political sophistication with a belief in the power of the spirit. In Portuguese with English subtitles.
Thursday, February 25, 2:00 p.m., and Saturday, February 27, 7:30 p.m., in Terrell Hall, Room 122, PCC Cascade Campus.
Read the Program Notes for Mortu Nega.
OGGUN: AN ETERNAL PRESENCE
(1981, Cuba, 55 min.), directed by Gloria Rolando.
In celebration of Women's History Month, we offer the first of two films by women directors. This creative documentary is set in the world of Santeria, the Afro-Cuban religion that is a syncretic blend of traditional West African Yoruba religion and Catholicism. The central figure is Lázaros Rós, the leading akpwon (singer) of Santeria and devotee of Oggun, the god of metals, iron, and warfare. A fascinating blend of ceremony, confession, fiction, and myth, the film serves to celebrate the bridge tying present-day Cubans back to their African roots. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Thursday, March 4, 12:00 p.m., and Friday, March 5, 7:30 p.m., in Terrell Hall, Room 122, PCC Cascade Campus.
Read the Program Notes for Oggun.
(1996, Zimbabwe, 90 min.), directed by Tsitsi Dangarembga.
Produced by the same organization that brought us Neria and More Time, Everyone's Child is the first film by novelist Dangarembga, known for her award-winning novel Nervous Conditions. In this film four children have lost their parents to AIDS, a tragically common situation in Zimbabwe and in much of Africa. Itai, the elder son, leaves for Harare to try to earn money to send back; he is soon lost among the many unemployed street kids of the capital city. Tamari, the elder daughter, remains behind to take care of the two younger children. She soon finds herself pursued by a promiscuous would-be benefactor; she risks becoming another victim of the same disease that killed her parents. Ultimately a call to action, Everyone's Child asks its audience to consider its own responsibility in dealing with the terrible problem and legacy of AIDS in Africa. In English
Thursday, March 4, 1:00 p.m., and Saturday, March 6, 7:30 p.m., in Terrell Hall, Room 122, PCC Cascade Campus.
Read the Program Notes for Everyone's Child.
Saturday, February 20, 2:00 p.m., in Terrell Hall, Room 122, PCC Cascade Campus
PICC MI (LITTLE BIRD)
(1992, Senegal, 20 min.), directed by Mansour Sora Wade.
Picc Mi is the story of two destitute boys who escape the predatory demands of adults to spend one day of freedom together. Mamadou (Modou) is a talibe, a boy given by his poor parents into the care of a marabout, or Muslim holy man. Each day the talibe are sent into the bazaars to beg for alms for the holy man. Modou's friend, Ablaye, scavenges the streets for junk to give to his father, a farmer driven into the city by drought. The title, meaning "little bird," is taken from the soundtrack song by Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour about an innocent young bird whom a devious crocodile tries to lure from its nest with promises of food. In the final scene, Modou runs along the beach towards the sea and, at least in his imagination, is transformed into a bird who can fly free. In Wolof with English subtitles.
FARY, L'ANESSE (FARY, THE DONKEY)
(1989, Senegal, 17 min.), directed by Mansour Sara Wade.
Fary, l'Anesse tells the tale of a man named Ibra who is led into folly by his pursuit of perfection. He refuses to marry any woman with the slightest flaw. When he thinks he has found the perfect woman, she turns out to be a donkey. The moral: things that seem too good to be true usually are. In Wolof with English subtitles.
MY DINNER WITH THE DEVIL SNAKE
(1987, U.S.A., 15 min.), directed by Jim Blashfield.
This film by Portland filmmaker Blashfield is set in the home of artists Ronna Neuenschwander and Baba Wagué Diakité (both of whom are members of the Cascade Festival of African Films Committee). Wagué tells a story from his native Mali, a tale involving the Devil Snake. Soon strange things begin to happen! In English.
Baba Wagué Diakité will serve as the host of Family Film Day. He is also the author and illustrator of The Hunterman and the Crocodile, which won the Coretta Scott King Award for Best Illustrated Childrenís Book in 1998.
Admission to all festival films is free. Free parking for the festival is available in the campus parking lots at PCC Cascade.
For more information, phone the Cascade Festival of African Films Information Line at (503) 244-6111, ext. 3630.
Portland Community College Cascade Campus, 705 North Killingsworth, Portland, Oregon 97217.
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