Contemporary African Short Films

Six short films, including three debut projects, variously look back at African history, explore contemporary issues, and imagine a dystopic future. A History of Independence, a morality tale set in the 1960s, looks critically at the difficult period after independence through the story of an unusual marriage. The satirical Dr. Cruel is indebted to both Nigeria's Nollywood and video art in its fanciful depiction of the Afro-Icelandic Liberation Front. According to its star and writer Jakob Boeskov, “It's a mix between the Beastie Boys and an Al-Qaeda kidnapping video gone haywire.” The lively and experimental Intermittent Delight contrasts African textiles with American refrigerator decorations to look at cultural appropriation. In the first installment of Bouchra Khalili's ongoing Mapping Journey, a young Algerian traces the dangerous route of his illegal migration to Marseille. Mati Diop, who acted in Clair Denis's 35 Shots of Rum, presents moving testimony from young Senegalese who argue both for and against leaving their country in Atlantique. Kenyan filmmaker Wanure Kahiu drew upon classic sci-fi films to create her award-winning Pumzi, which imagines an East Africa region without water after World War III drives its population underground.

A History of Independence (Daouda Coulibaly, Senegal/Mali, 2009, 21 mins, B&W). Dr. Cruel (Teco Benson and Jakob Boeskov, Nigeria/U.S., 2010, 9 mins, Color). Intermittent Delight (Akosua Adoma Awusu, 2007, U.S./Ghana, 5 mins, Color, From the artist). Mapping Journey #1 (Bouchra Khalili, Morocco/France, 2008, 5 mins, Color, From the artist). Atlantique (Mati Diop, Senegal/France, 2009, 15 mins, Color, From Le Fresnoy). Pumzi (Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya/South Africa, 2009, 20 mins, Color).

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