San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
This evening of short films showcases emerging artists and filmmakers who challenge our expectations of African cinema. It is a chance to watch Fyzal Boulifa’s BAFTA nominated film, The Curse – a harrowing piece of cinema about young sexuality in Morocco – and to be introduced to the work of Akosua Adoma Owusu, whose experimental films about migrant identity, hairstyles and old colonial dreams experiment with the film-essay form.
Drexciya — Akosua Adoma Owusu
Drexciya takes its name from the myth conceived by the Detroit techno duo of the same name, which imagines that the underwater creatures born to pregnant slaves thrown overboard during the Middle Passage now live in a submarine empire.
Here, American-born, Ghanaian filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu uses 16mm, and creates a strange, powerfully elegiac essay centred on the broken and decaying tiles of a luxury swimming pool in Ghana. Now inhabited by birds and the homeless, Drexciya re-imagines a watery past, once full of glamour and promise, now left decaying and forgotten.
Fluorescent Sin — Amirah Tajdin
At Nairobi’s iconic central station, a majestic drag queen sits on a bench, drably smoking a cigarette and descending into a poetic breakdown. In 8 minutes, filmmaker Amirah Tajdin challenges our ideas of beauty, sexuality, and Kenyan attitudes to ‘otherness’ in a film that suggests being caught between two places might in fact be no bad thing.
Me Broni Ba (My White Baby)
Me Broni Ba is a lyrical portrait of hair salons in Kumasi, Ghana. The tangled legacy of European colonialism in Africa is summoned through images of women practicing hair braiding on discarded white baby dolls from the west. The film unfolds through a series of vignettes, set against a child's story of migrating from Ghana to the United States. Recalling the work of artist Ellen Gallagher, and theorist Kobena Mercer, Owusu’s film attempts to untangle the myriad politics that weave their way into black beauty and identity. A fitting film, given the hair salons that line Rye Lane below Bold Tendencies, and the infamous Peckham ‘tumbleweave’.
Fatine has ventured from the village to meet her older lover. As she prepares to leave after her illicit rendezvous, a small boy catches her. Setting off home, a rabble of children join the young boy in her pursuit, threatening her downfall.
Set against an unforgiving sparse expanse of bleached landscape outside Marrakech, this short film by Fyzal Boulifa is harrowing and acerbic, exploring the naïve cruelty of children and the pressures of societal mores in rural Morocco.
Fyzal will introduce the film, and participate in a Q&A after the screening. (TBC)
The Curse was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Short Film in 2012, and won the Premier Prix Illy for Short Filmmaking at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2012.