This yearâ€™s program, culled from festivals including Sundance and the African Film Festival, Inc.â€™s Traveling Series, highlights eight new and classic features from locations worldwide including Chad, Mali, Nigeria, and the African diaspora right here in Brooklyn.
[Arts, Culture, Entertainment]
BAMcinématek presents FilmAfrica, a cinematic sidebar to DanceAfrica 2011, May 26—31
The Wall Street Journal is the BAMcinématek and BAM Rose Cinemas sponsor.
From Thursday, May 26 through Tuesday, May 31 (six days), BAMcinématek presents this year’s edition of FilmAfrica, the cinema component of BAM’s longest-running performance series, DanceAfrica, the annual celebration of African and African-American dance, music, and culture.
This year’s program, culled from festivals including Sundance and the African Film Festival, Inc.’s Traveling Series, highlights eight new and classic features from locations worldwide including Chad, Mali, Nigeria, and the African diaspora right here in Brooklyn.
FilmAfrica presents the NY premiere of Sundance sensation Restless City (2011— screening May 29). The debut feature film from prolific photographer-designer Andrew Dosunmu was shot on location in the streets of New York City by the talented young director of photography Bradford Young (Pariah), who was named one of the top cinematographers in independent cinema by Filmmaker magazine.
Born in Nigeria and educated in Lagos, Dosunmnu received career training stateside before winning grants from the Annenberg Foundation and the Maryland Film Fund. “The extraordinarily beautiful Restless City achieves revelation on two tiers—in the kinetic landscape of the city itself and
in the world of Senegalese immigrants, whose struggle evolves just beneath the sightlines of the average New Yorker” (John Anderson, Variety). Dosunmu will appear in person for a Q&A.
A Screaming Man (2010—May 27 & 29), the newest acclaimed film from Chadian auteur Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Dry Season, Abouna), is “a quiet, tender, finally wrenching story of an individual at the intersection of the personal and the political” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times). Already an essential work of world cinema, Yeelen (1987—May 27 & 31), the cinematic fable from Malian director Souleymane Cissé, won the Jury Prize when it premiered at Cannes. “It’s a sign of true genius that a director can summon the rise, fall and subsequent rebirth of the cosmos with such a profound understanding and respect for the shape of things” (Ed Gonzalez, Slant magazine).
Another highlight is Shirley Adams (2009—May 28), the searing portrait of a Cape Town mother, “a penetrating study in fortitude and optimism in the face of desperate odds” (Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter). For family audiences, Kirikou and the Wild Beast (2005), the second film in the popular animated Kirikou series, which premiered at Cannes, also screens on May 28. FilmAfrica also presents an African Shorts program on May 30, with films from Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Cuba, and the US, to round out this Memorial Day weekend tradition.
Created in 1977 as the nation’s first festival devoted to the rich legacy of African dance, DanceAfrica has evolved into a highly anticipated Memorial Day Weekend tradition that brings together the entire community. Under the artistic direction of Founding Elder Chuck Davis, DanceAfrica 2011:
Expressions and Encounters: African, Cuban, and American Rhythms (May 21-30) features Cuba’s Ballet Folklórico Cutumba (Cutumba), joined by two American companies, Philadelphia’s Kùlú Mèlé African Dance & Drum Ensemble and Bambara Drum & Dance Ensemble from New York City.
The festival also features the BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble, an annual favorite and a powerful symbol of youth involvement in the preservation of African heritage, performing for the 15th straight year.
Thursday, May 26
6:50, 9:15pm: One Small Step screening with Pumzi
Friday, May 27
2, 6:50pm: A Screaming Man
4 :30, 9:15pm: Yeelen
Saturday, May 28
2, 4:30pm: Kirikou and the Wild Beast
6:50, 9:15pm: Shirley Adams
Sunday, May 29
2, 4:30, 9:30pm: A Screaming Man
6:50pm: Restless City NY Premiere
Q&A with director Andrew Dosunmu
Monday, May 30
2, 6:50pm: African Shorts program
4:30, 9:15pm: Beyond the Ocean
Tuesday, May 31
4:30, 6:50, 9:15pm: Yeelen
Detailed film descriptions for FilmAfrica
African Shorts Program 84min
Freddy Ilanga: Che’s Swahili Translator (2009) 24min South Africa/Cuba/US
Directed by Katrin Hansing
Freddy Ilanga, a 15-year-old Congolese youth, becomes Che Guevara’s personal Swahili teacher and translator
during the seven intense months of Che’s mission to train anti-Mobutu rebels in Congo. This film is about
displacement, familial relations, and the high costs of exile during the Cold War and the Cuban Revolution.
Guew Bi—Sabar Dances of Senegal (1997) 30min Senegal
Directed by Francoise Bouffault. Senegalese often set up a temporary stage at a street corner. It is the guew bi, the dancing circle where a
cheerful crowd dressed in beautiful attire slowly gathers. The event is called a sabar. Soon drummers start playing and one at a time, women and men get up and enter the guew bi to perform the most exuberant, breathtaking dances.
This film, which introduces us to an astonishing contemporary art form deeply rooted in African tradition, was shot in the streets of Dakar with the participation of Master Drummer Doudou Ndiaye Rose.
A History of Independence (Il Était une fois l’independence) (2009) 21min Senegal/Mali Directed by Daouda Coulibaly It is the early 1960s, and Nama and Siré have just gotten married. Nama decides to make his home in a cave, where he will lead a hermit’s life and devote himself to God. One day, God sends an angel to Nama to thank him for being so devoted.
Dr. Cruel (2010) 9min Nigeria/US. Directed by Teco Benson and Jakob Boeskov. This tongue-in-cheek, Scandinavian-Nigerian-American co-production follows the interrogation of a white oil executive in a hideout somewhere in Nigeria. This action-art video borrows from all three cinematic cultures, as well as from the aesthetics of fundamentalist propaganda videos.
Mon, May 30 at 2, 6:50pm
Beyond the Ocean (Après L’ocean) (2008) 106min Ivory Coast
Directed by Eliane de Latour
Cab driver Otho and drug dealer Shad share dreams of returning to their homeland, Ivory Coast, as triumphant benefactors. A police raid separates their fates, leaving one to find success in Europe, while the other suffers the disappointment of deportation and a dream deferred.
Mon, May 30 at 4:30, 9:15pm
Kirikou and the Wild Beast (2005) 95min France
Directed by Michel Ocelot
Tiny Senegalese hero Kirikou is back in this sumptuous follow-up to the universally beloved Kirikou and the Sorceress. Using his wits and speed, brave Kirikou once again sets out to thwart the evil Sorceress Karaba and save his village from supernatural and environmental perils. Comprised of four short segments and based on traditional West African folktales, Kirikou and the Wild Beast shows how the smallest and most valiant of heroes
can overcome the fiercest of beasts.
In French with English subtitles.
Sat, May 28 at 2, 4:30pm
One Small Step (2010) 45min Nigeria
Directed by Remi Vaughan-Richards
Local hairdresser Grace Fidelis takes a stand against the corrupt local councilman in a small town in Nigeria to save her community from a health disaster. No one is bothered by the overflowing refuse on the streets—not even when there is an outbreak of cholera from the contaminated water—since they are too scared of the local councilman. When Grace almost loses her son to cholera and decides to take action, no one in the community will support her—until young Tola loses her newborn child.
Screening with Pumzi (2009) 33min South Africa/Kenya
Directed by Wanuri Kahiu
Pumzi (Air) is set in East Africa, 35 years after World War III, in a world with no water and toxic soil. The story is told through the eyes of Asha, a curator at a virtual natural history museum in the Maitu community. She receives soil in the mail and decides to plant a seed in it, regardless of her superior’s instructions.
Thu, May 26 at 6:50, 9:15pm
Restless City (2011) 80min US
Directed by Andrew Dosunmu
Restless City tells the story of Djibril, a young African immigrant surviving on the fringes of New York City where music is his passion, life is a hustle, and falling in love is his greatest risk. Having endured many travails by the time he arrives in New York, his life can only go upward. With aspirations to be a musician and pop star and to one day return to Africa where his mother and father still toil for a meager living. Djibril sells merchandise on Canal Street for a small income. There he meets Bekay, a complex man who sells bootlegged CDs to Djibril and
also runs a secret brothel. It is at Bekay's brothel that Djibril sees the beautiful Trini for the first time.
Sun, May 29 at 6:50pm
Q&A with director Andrew Dosunmu
A Screaming Man (2010) 102min Chad/France/Belgium
Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
In Haroun’s (Daratt) latest feature—winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival—an aging former swimming champion is forced to abdicate to his son his job as a pool attendant at a hotel in Chad when it is taken over by new Chinese owners, leaving him humiliated and resentful. Meanwhile, as the country is in the throes of a civil war, rebel forces attack the government and the authorities demand citizens contribute to the "war effort" with money or military service. Constantly harassed for his contribution, but penniless, Adam makes a decision that he will forever regret.
In French and Arabic with English subtitles.
Fri, May 27 at 2, 6:50pm
Sun, May 29 at 2, 4:30, 9:30pm
Shirley Adams (2009) 92min South Africa
Directed by Oliver Hermanus
In this deeply affecting portrait of ordinary courage in present-day South Africa, Shirley Adams, is a single mother struggling to care for her paraplegic teenage son, Donovan, in a depressed district on the outskirts of Cape Town. Wearied but resolute, she desperately clings to him as he withdraws from the world following a suicide attempt, and she is hopeful when his spirits are lifted by the appearance of Tamsin, a pretty but overeager social worker. When his relationship with Tamsin sours, Donovan’s fragile emotional health declines and Shirley's faith and perseverance are put to the ultimate test. Shirley Adams is co-presented by the Global Film Initiative and is part of the Global Lens Collection.
Sat, May 28 at 6:50, 9 :15pm
Yeelen (Brightness) (1987) 105min France/Burkina Faso/Mali
Directed by Souleymane Cissé
Filmed in Mali, Yeelen weaves several Kenyan folk stories into an engaging framework. The hero is a young boy whose father is an evil magician. Marked for death by his long-absent papa, the boy bids goodbye to his mother and heads for the hills. En route to his kindly uncle, our hero utilizes his own conjuring skills for the benefit of those less fortunate than himself; while also rescuing a king from being deposed.
Fri, May 27 at 4:30, 9 :15pm
Tue, May 31 at 4:30, 6:50, 9:15pm
The four-screen BAM Rose Cinemas (BRC) opened in 1998 to offer Brooklyn audiences alternative and independent films that might not play in the borough otherwise, making BAM the only performing arts center in the country with two mainstage theaters and a multiplex cinema. In July 1999, beginning with a series celebrating the work of Spike Lee, BAMcinématek was born as Brooklyn’s only daily, year-round repertory film program. BAMcinématek presents new and rarely seen contemporary films, classics from cinema history, work by local artists, and festivals of films from around the world, often with special appearances by directors, actors, and other guests.
BAMcinématek has not only presented major retrospectives by well-known filmmakers such as Michelangelo Antonioni, Shohei Imamura, Manoel de Oliveira, and Luchino Visconti, but it has also introduced New York audiences to contemporary artists such as Pedro Costa and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. In addition BAMcinématek programmed the first US retrospectives of directors Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Arnaud Desplechin, and Hong Sang-soo. Recently BAMcinématek co-curated a three-year summer collaboration of new feature/documentary/short films with the Sundance Institute, from 2006 to 2008.
BAMcinématek launched the first BAMcinemaFEST in June 2009, a 16-day festival of new independent films and repertory favorites; the third annual BAMcinemaFEST will run in June 2011. From November 10 to 23, 2010, BAMcinématek presented a complete retrospective of the restored works from around the globe of World Cinema Foundation (WCF).
The African Film Festival National Traveling Series is organized by the African Film Festival, Inc. This series has been made possible by the generous support of the National Endowments for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Lambent Foundation, Bradley Family Foundation and Websignia. Special thanks to Mahen Bonetti, director, and Toccarra Thomas, program coordinator, African Film Festival, for their assistance and support.
Additional thanks to Rebeca Conget/Film Movement, Gary Pamucci/Kino.
The Wall Street Journal is the presenting sponsor for BAMcinématek and BAM Rose Cinemas. BAM Rose Cinemas are named in recognition of a major gift in honor of Jonathan F.P. and Diana Calthorpe Rose. BAM Rose Cinemas would also like to acknowledge the generous support of The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, The Estate of Richard B. Fisher, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Bloomberg, and Time Warner Inc. Additional
support for BAMcinématek is provided by The Cultural Heritage Preservation Fund, The Grodzins Fund, and The Liman Foundation.
Tickets: General Admission: $12
BAM Cinema Club Members: $7, BAM Cinema Club Movie Moguls: Free
Seniors & Students (25 and under with a valid ID, Mon—Thu): $9
Bargain matinees (Mon—Thu before 5pm & Fri—Sun before 3pm no holidays): $8
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, and BAMcafé are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). Both locations house Shakespeare & Co. at BAM kiosks. BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn’s only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafé, operated by Great Performances, is open for dining prior to BAM Howard Gilman Opera House evening performances. BAMcafé also features an eclectic mix of spoken word and live music for BAMcafé Live on Friday and Saturday nights with a special BAMcafé Live menu available starting at 8pm.
Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue ((2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins St for Harvey Theater)
D, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue
Train: Long Island Railroad to Atlantic Terminal
Bus: B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67 all stop within three blocks of BAM. Car: Commercial parking lots are located adjacent to BAM
For ticket and BAMbus information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit BAM.org.
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