13 Best African Movies To Get You Hooked
7. Bamako (Mali,2006) Abderrahmane Sissako
Starring the lovely Miss Aïssa Maïga who is nowadays seen in many french film projects, Bamako is an intimately somber and engaging film centered around a trial. A dissolving marriage manages to squeeze into the topics at hand. In the background, discussions of corruption by world organizations such as the World bank is erupting. Economic austerity is among the subjects in the movie and how it has made its place in the African continent. Also Danny Glover makes a cameo as well.
From Metacritic: “Set in the courtyard of house in Bamako, the capital city of Mali, this film features a mock trial between representatives of African society and international financial institutions. Alongside these very public political proceedings, the film offers an intimate glimpse of everyday life in contemporary Africa.”
6. Touki Bouki(Journey of the Hyena(Senegal,1973) by Djibril Diop Mambéty
A classic story of a boy with a skeletal cow head accessorized motorcycle and girl meeting, blazing out to new adventures and as they say the rest is history. Again the focus is on the dream to go to Europe to find a better life. Mambéty is considered one of Africa’s best directors and rightly so. Influenced by french new wave, Italian neorealism and fantasy-like aesthetics,Touki Bouki is quite an achievement as a debut film.
From Clarke Fountain,Rovi:”Two youngsters attempt to escape what they perceive to be the poverty and backwardness of their native Senegal. In this movie, a boy (Magaye Niang) and a girl (Mareme Niang) try to gather the funds and connections to enable them to move to France. They believe they will find better wages and a better life there. The boy engages in a number of petty thefts to finance his ambitions but in the end cannot leave without a fetish amulet which he has lost somewhere.”
5. Tsotsi (Thug)(South Africa,2005) Gavin Hood
South Africa has released a number of excellent works and this is one of them.The best foreign language film went Tsotsi during 2005 Academy Awards,going against some other great films such as Italy’s Don’t Tell (Cristina Comencini), and France’s Joyeux Noël (Christian Carion).This South African film is an amazing, heartrendingly beautiful film of a troubled young man that is forever changed by a baby.The acting is brilliant and you strive for the protagonist to discover that light at the end of the tunnel.
From Rotten Tomatoes: “An amoral teenager develops an unexpected paternal side in this powerful drama from South Africa. Tsotsi (Presley Chweneyagae) is the street name used by a young Johannesburg delinquent who has taken to a life of crime in order to support himself. Tsotsi comes from a blighted upbringing — his mother died slowly from AIDS-related illnesses, and his father was torturously abusive — and he has developed a talent for violence borne of necessity as well as taking strange pleasure in hurting other people. One evening, Tsotsi shoots a woman while stealing her car, and only later discovers that her infant son is in the back seat. Uncertain of what to do with the baby, Tsotsi takes the boy home and tries to care for it — going so far as to force Miriam (Terry Pheto), a single mother living nearby, to nurse the baby. With time, Tsotsi learns the basics of child care, and the presence of the baby awakens a sense of humanity in him that life on the street had stripped away. Tsotsi was adapted from a novel by the award-winning South African writer Athol Fugard.”
4. Drum (South Africa,2004) by Zola Maseko
American actors, Taye Diggs and Gabriel Mann, star in this South African film centered around the social upheavals that went on during apartheid.It explores themes of injustice,not in an original manner but it’s still worth the watch.Drum is the name of the magazine that Diggs’s character works for which was dubbed “the first black lifestyle magazine in Africa.”Smartly directed,well written and filled with great visuals of Johannesburg.
From Rotten Tomatoes:” Set in the 1950’s, two journalists help spark the movement against apartheid and explore the colorful jazz rhythms of 1950s Johannesburg.”
3. District 9 (South Africa,2009) by Neill Blomkamp
South Africa has done it again! What if aliens lived amongst us?! Yet treated like thrash.Well this is that reality. One of my favorite Sci-Fi films.I consider it in the same plateau as The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise, 1951), Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982), Looper (Rian Johnson, 2012) and countless others. It’s packed with aliens, magnificent special effects, a mesmerizing tale, and the Peter Jackson touch. It delivers some great lines such as when character, Wikus Van De Merwe exclaims “Get your fokkin’ tentacle out of my face!” This film has heart in spades. Genuinely entertaining and that lead actor is unforgettable. I’m looking forward to the sequel with bated breath.
From IMDB:“An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.”
2. The Gods must be Crazy(South Africa/Botswana,1980)by James Uys
I’m a huge fan of Buster Keaton, Chaplin and that crazy lovable douche bag, W.C Fields. So when I saw this hilarious movie a couple of years ago, I was hooked. I should watch it again.Would love see more comedic films like this, but alas they are few in number at present times. It just makes you happy.You will probably cackle your way throughout the whole film…well I sure did. Here’s a snippet from film by the narrator: “That morning, Xi saw the ugliest person he’d ever come across. She was as pale as something that had crawled out of a rotting log. Her hair was quite gruesome; long and stringy and white, as if she was very old. She was very big – you’d have to dig the whole day to find enough food to feed her.” Too funny.
From IMDB:”A comic allegory about a traveling Bushman who encounters modern civilization and its stranger aspects, including a clumsy scientist and a band of revolutionaries.”