The Reel Africa

Even foreign film aficionados might not be able to reel off a list of classic African cinema or tell you why artists such as Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène are said to be creating some of today’s most relevant works. But contrary to popular knowledge, Africa has been composing some of the most harrowing social critiques and aesthetic innovations in film since the Fifties. As Hollywood tycoons manufactured slapstick comedies and glossy film noir, African directors tackled postcolonial issues, war, corruption, racism, and sexuality. And that revolutionary spirit of African film can be seen in Miami Art Central’s selections from its African Film Festival, onscreen tonight at 7:30.

Something Else (Nkan Mii) is a sixteen minute short by Nigerian filmmaker Seke Somolu. It explores the life of a financially bereft man forced to turn to his family for help, and creates a stirring portrait of middle class hardship in big cities like Lagos. The Colonial Misunderstanding (Le Malentendu Colonial), by Cameroon director Jean Marie Teno, focuses on European colonialism in Africa through the lens of Christian evangelism. Although Teno’s central theme -- the destruction of African beliefs and their subsequent replacement by European inspired versions -- is chilling, he suggests the route to modernity and the affirmation of indigenous roots are not mutually exclusive. Tickets cost $3-$5. Call 305-455-3336, or visit
Fri., Feb. 17


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