Coming Up: African Cinema season

This Thursday we return to The Palace Picturehouse in Armley Mills Industrial Museum for the conclusion of our Modern Monochrome season. We’ll be screening Javor Gardev’s surreal and hard-hitting Bulgarian crime-noir Zift (2008) for which tickets are still available from our online ticket office.

moolaade_2_bfi-00n-9scWhile we look forward to the evening we’re also looking further ahead. After kicking off 2014 focusing on the classy and distinctive stylings of black and white filmmaking from the last 25 years, from April our focus will shift to a land full of colour, with a rich film history and style all of its own; the continent of Africa.

African Cinema is political, historical, social and spiritual by nature and offers so much in the way of bold-themed independent cinema that Minicine has long been committed to screening in Leeds and West Yorkshire.

First, we head to the Democratic Republic of Congo for a tale of triumph-over-adversity in Benda Bilili! (2010). This music documentary details the rise of a band of homeless paraplegic street musicians who have attained a global following through their positive and uplifting music.

Met with a standing ovation when it screened at Cannes, Renaud Barret’s and Florent de La Tullaye’s film covers several years in the life of the band Staff Benda Bilili. From humble beginnings on the dilapidated streets of Kinshasa through an against-all-odds rise to world attention and a successful European tour, this film is full of humility, wit and wonder. A true Cinderella story.

In May we are particularly proud to bring you work from one of World Cinema’s greatest filmmakers, a man many consider to be the father of African film, the late Ousmane Sembène.

Meaning ‘magical protection’, Moolaadé (2004) concerns itself with the controversial issue of female circumcision. When a group of young girls learn that they are to be ‘cut’ they flee to the protection of Collé, a woman in their village who opposes the practice. This is a film which takes a stand against the oppression of women within a nation of tradition.

Filmed in a remote village in Burkina Faso, this production was also financed between companies from countries including Senegal, Cameroon, Morocco and Tunisia – this is very much an ‘African’ film. Moolaadé was Sembène’s last film and was the winner of the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

Wrapping up our Minicine at the Mills features programme for this season is Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (2009).

Social commentary wrapped in sci-fi action, District 9 begins as a mockumentary and slowly transforms into an all-out-blockbuster yet never forgets the issues it aims to address. Adapted from Blomkamp’s original South African short Alive in Joburg (2006), the film deals with themes including racial segregation, xenophobia and corporate corruption.

Anchored by a breakout performance by Sharlto Copley, D9 achieves both humour and sorrow in equal measure and is a perfect example of thought-provoking entertainment.

district_9_12In the same vein as our Black/White playlist, we will also be bringing you a selection of music videos from some of Africa’s biggest artists.

And we also hope to bring you articles about the movers and shakers in African Cinema throughout the years as well as an idea of what it may come from it in the future.

We’re excited for this season and we hope you are too. Tickets for our screening of Benda Bilili are available to Minicine members now and go on general sale from Friday 28 March.

See you at a screening soon.


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