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Friday, 16 March 2012 22:55

African Film Festival Showcases Eight Diverse Selections

African Film Festival Showcases Eight Diverse Selections africanfilmny.org
Written by Diane Carson
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Washington University hosts the seventh African Film Festival March 23rd through the 25th. It includes eight films, three features introduced by short films plus a youth matinee. Selections this year celebrate independent women and the power of youth. Of those available for preview, A Trip to Algiers stands out for one family's political drama as Algeria embraces independence.

Set in 1962, this multi-award winning film tackles post-colonial power plays through a determined widow's insistence on her right to a home. Well written and superbly acted, the story's tension builds from its opening minutes through to its satisfying conclusion. Beautifully shot, the 14-minute "Lezare," which precedes Voyage to Algiers, presents a young Ethiopian boy confronted with a dilemma. In this poignant fable, his entire village has just planted trees desperately needed to halt the desert's spread, but he's lost the money he needs to buy bread and must make a critical decision.

The collision of tradition with radical change anchors the Burkina Faso feature An Uncommon Woman. When independent-minded Mina grows tired of her husband's philandering, Mina decides she'll take a second husband. It's unheard of but it's also her house and her hard-earned money. Though technically unsophisticated with everyone overacting, An Uncommon Woman succeeds in making its point with considerable humor along the way. I love the maid who wears a St. Louis Cardinals t-shirt on in one scene.

Not available for preview but with an impressive pedigree, A Screaming Man screens Sunday. Winner of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Jury Award, one man's story unfolds against the backdrop of Chad's civil war.

Saturday, March 24th at 1 p.m. the youth matinee includes the animated, 45-minute "Tree of Spirits" with director Cilia Sawadogo on hand to answer questions after the screening. All films show at Washington University's Brown Hall, Room 100 and have English subtitles as needed. The three evening, feature-film programs begin with short films at 7 p.m., Friday, March 23rd through Sunday, March 25th. There is no charge for admission to any events. For more information, you may call 314-935-7879 or you may go to www.wupa.wustl.edu/africanfilm/

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