Monday, January 23, 2012

African Film Spotlight, CAN 2012

In the past, I had to postpone an African Cup of Nations (CAN) Film spotlight due to the difficulty in tracking down an adequate number of films from the nations taking part in the tournament. That difficulty still exists and in a way, the 2012 tournament is more challenging than previous editions because of the high profile absences of Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa and Algeria. Much has been written about the footballing ramifications of the absence of these five countries especially since Egypt won the last three tournaments, Nigeria and Cameroon have been major forces in the region for the last two decades while Algeria took part in the 2010 World Cup held in South Africa. However, their absence is more serious from a cinematic point of view because Egypt and Nigeria are the two most prolific film producing African nations while in recent years South Africa and Algeria have contributed a good dose of worthy films. Thankfully, Mali and Senegal are present in this year’s tournament as they are a reliable source of films and it is also relatively easy to find films from Morocco and Tunisia. I decided to go ahead with a CAN spotlight because I was able to find atleast two films from each group.

Selection Criteria & Rules

This spotlight has the least amount of rules because of the hurdles involved in finding enough representative films. The selections can be from any decade and co-productions are essential requirements. There will be no head-to-head judging of films but I will write about the selections and then pick my three favourite entries at the end of the spotlight. Backup films will only be allowed in case I cannot find the entries below.

Group A

Equatorial Guinea: None
Libya: The Message (1977, Moustapha Akkad)
Senegal: Madame Brouette (2002, Moussa Sene Absa)
Zambia: None

Unfortunately, the co-hosts Equatorial Guinea are not known for their film industry although a documentary about the nation’s oil industry does exist.

Group B

Angola: The Hero (2004, Zézé Gamboa)
Burkina Faso: Dreams of Dust (2006, Laurent Salgues)
Ivory Coast: Adanggaman (2000, Roger Gnoan M'Bala)
Sudan: None

Ivory Coast are the soccer powerhouses in Group B and it would be a major shock if they didn’t win their group. However, in cinematic terms, Ivory Coast will have their hands full with the two other group entries.

There are a few foreign made documentaries about Sudan but no adequate direct or co-production entry could be found.

Group C

Gabon: Dôlè (2000, Imunga Ivanga)
Morocco: Le Grand Voyage (2004, Ismaël Ferroukhi)
Niger: Le Medicin De Gafire (1985, Mustapha Diop)
Tunisia: Khorma (2002, Jilani Saadi)

There is potential to see films from all four nations.

Group D

Botswana: The Gods Must be Crazy II (1989, Jamie Uys)
Ghana: Life and Living It (2008, Shirley Frimpong Manso)
Guinea: Dakan (1997, Mohamed Camara)
Mali: Den Muso (1975, Souleymane Cissé)

Like Group C, all 4 films might be present.

The football tournament ends on February 12 but this spotlight will be allowed to run until March.


Sam Juliano said...

Sachin, I have heard of a few of these films, but have only actually seen THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY II. I am a fan of African cinema, and consider Sembene one of the great world masters. TILAI is another film I rate highly from the continent. I love teh way you presented this itinerary tieing it into to the football groupings. It really makes for an engaging presentation in every sense. I hope to catch up with some of these films soon enough.

Sachin said...

Yes I agree about Sembene. At first, it felt obvious to include a film by him for Senegal but I had seen all three films of his that were readily available. So I decided to head off in another direction and decided to try an unknown for the Senegal entry.

I have not seen TILAI and will keep that title in mind when I attempt this spotlight in the future.

Thanks for your comment Sam.