African/Nollywood Films (2)

While I missed out on “Grigris,” I was able to see “Mother of George.”  Just by the skin of my teeth. A snowstorm threatened to have the movie interrupted/audience sent home.  Luckily, the alarm/warnings to leave the theater, didn’t go off until after the movie was over.  Whew! I’ve been wanting to see the film for a while. The film was at a local indie theater for a week, then disappeared. So, I was excited to see that it was part of the African Film Festival lineup.

“Mother of George”  is a Nigerian film.  The Nollywood film industry has  boomed over the years. It’s the third largest film industry in the world (after Hollywood/Bollywood). The amazing growth of these African films, begs the question “What can black filmmakers in the USA learn from Nollywood ?”

I was surprised to learn that “Mother of George” was the second film of Nigerian fashion photographer, Andrew Dosunmu.  You definitely see the influence of art, beauty, and fashion in the film. The movie is simply gorgeous.  The story revolves around Nigerian  newlyweds, Adenike (badazz Michonne, I mean Danai Gurira 🙂  and Ayodele (Isaach de Bankole).

I just want to say Isaach de Bankole is fine as hell! He also does a great job portraying Ayodele as a kind/loving (if not clueless) husband.

After the wedding (like all good traditional Nigerian housewives),  Adenike is supposed to get pregnant (with a son, of course). She doesn’t. It soon becomes apparent, after a couple of years of not getting pregnant, the couple’s fertility issues rest with Ayodele. However, in this traditional family, it’s absurd (and offensive) to blame the man. Ayodele, ignores Adenike pleas to see a fertility doctor. It forces Adenike to make a decision, that will knock your socks off.

The film is a good study on how culture/traditions can be empowering (as you watch the film, you see a vibrant/supportive Nigerian family/friends that you long to be part of.  Also, the film made me hungry 🙂, but can also be stifling. It shows how traditional gender roles, can be harmful to women AND men. A lot that happens in the film could have been avoided if Ayodele had supported his wife/listened to his heart…

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African/Nollywood Films (1)

This week in honor of Black History Month (BHM), I will look at African/Nollywood films. Every year, in my city,  there is a huge African film festival for BHM. I have missed the last couple years of the festival, but I am determined to see as many as I can this year.  There are so many great stories to be told from the African diaspora/beyond Hollywood.  The film festival is a great opportunity to see/support these groundbreaking films.

I REALLY wanted to see the first film of the festival. However, I was dead tired after work, so skipped it. The film is called“Grigris…”

“The great African filmmaker Mahamat-Saleh Haroun has made some of the most profound and important films to emerge from the continent in the past two decades, including A Screaming Man, which opened our 2011 festival after winning the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2010. His new film is not only beautiful to look at, but it is also a superb humanist drama with thriller elements. Set in Chad, Grigris follows a young man who dreams of rising above his economic and physical impediments. Despite his partial paralysis, 25-year-old Grigris (stunningly portrayed by Souleymane Démé) dreams of becoming a dancer. He displays nimbleness on the dance floor despite his serious disability, and becomes the toast of the nightclubs. When his stepfather falls critically ill, Grigris is forced to find dangerous and illegal work, which has grave consequences. This visually stunning, ultimately uplifting film is a thoughtful portrait of one man’s story in a war-ravaged country on the brink of change.

In French and Arabic with English subtitles.”

I wish I would’ve sucked it up, because the film looks really good. Hopefully, I can get the movie once it’s released on DVD