International: Africa Reviews

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Rotterdam 2017 Review: THE WEDDING RING Allows A Beautiful Peek At A Different Culture

When we in the West think of the North African Sahel region, we tend to conjure up images of deserts, terrorism, war, famine, nauseating abuse of human rights... In short, the harshest environments and the nastiest works us humans are...

Rotterdam 2017 Review: WÙLU Shows A Thoughtful Rise To Criminal Power

In Malinese director Daouda Coulibaly's crime drama Wùlu, we follow the rise of Ladji, a bus driver in Mali's capital city Bamako, who decides to use his street-savvy for becoming a career criminal. Cheated out of a years-in-the-making promotion because...

Review: DETOUR, Christopher Smith's Mind and Time-Bending Neo Noir

Christopher Smith's neo-noir thriller, Detour, should keep audiences guessing until the end

Blu-ray Review: Criterion Enshrines Ousmane Sembène's BLACK GIRL

After years of having it on my watchlist, I caught up with Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène's Moolaadé last year and enjoyed it a great deal, leaving me hungry for more. The Criterion Collection has conveniently sailed in to quench the...

Review: NOEM MY SKOLLIE, South Africa's Deserving Oscar Submission

Noem My Skollie (Call Me Thief) is Daryn Joshua's emphatic debut and Dann-jacques Mouton's breakout performance, but the heart of this year's South African Oscar submission belongs to its writer, John Fredericks, on whose life growing up in the townships...

Toronto After Dark 2016 Review: FROM A HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET Frustrates As It Keeps Its Distance

Four kidnappers get more than they bargained for when they kidnap Katherine, the daughter of a diamond broker. They take her to an abandoned factory and prepare to hold her for a ransom. However, trouble starts brewing when they cannot...

Springbok Cinema Review: Homeward Bound With THE BOERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD

Richard Finn Gregory's The Boers At The End Of The World (in its native Afrikaans: Boere Op Die Aardsdrempel) was the finest South African documentary of 2015, and easily made my Springbok Cinema list of the country's best work. Following a...

Toronto 2016 Review: MESSAGE FROM THE KING Mixes Old School And Global Contemporary Masculinity Into Neo-Noir

Arriving fresh into LAX with only the clothes on his back, some cash in his pocket and a South African passport, Jacob King is given the full interrogation by the customs officials, "Are you working? Are you staying with family?...

Blu-ray Review: Aussie Classic ROAD GAMES Arrives In HD

Fans of Mark Hartley's groudbreaking documentary Not Quite Hollywood will be very familiar with Road Games. This Australian exploitation classic, directed by Richard Franklin, features in that documentary in a big way, largely because of the fact it was one...

Review: FYNBOS, Brilliantly Anti-Cathartic Cinema

A young white woman in high heels walks down a street in a black working-class neighborhood. Though clearly on edge, she walks with a purpose. She pauses at a row of trash cans. Clothes billow in the wind, threaded on...

Review: I AM THALENTE Skates With Soul

We all know the sound. That clack-scrape-whoosh of a skateboard on the sidewalk. For many of us it is as close to the sport as we get. When we hear that sound most of us move out of the way...

Springbok Cinema Review: THE ACTOR Transcends Its Existential Demons

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth."  - Oscar WildeThe Actor made my Springbok Cinema list for 2015, putting it among the very best South African...

Toronto 2015 Review: BEASTS OF NO NATION Spills Blood On A Large Canvas

A big screen movie made by streaming media behemoth Netflix, for click and view streaming, Cary Fukunaga's beautifully brutal war story, Beasts of No Nation feels too large and too difficult a watch to warrant a casual click on a...

Toronto 2015 Review: THE ENDLESS RIVER, A Gorgeously Rendered But Emotionally Distant Portrait Of Loss

South African festival darling Oliver Hermanus continues his remarkable run of international acclaim with his third effort, The Endless River. Selected in competition in Venice before coming here to Toronto Hermanus delivers a thematically challenging and gorgeously rendered yet emotionally...

Review: WE COME AS FRIENDS, Shadows Of Colonial Past Still Loom Over South Sudan

Hubert Sauper, a Paris based filmmaker known for his searing eco-disaster exposé in Tanzania, Darwin's Nightmare (2005), continues to document the African continent in his new documentary, We Come As Friends. This time, he sheds light on the post-referendum era...

Durban 2015 Review: THE SHORE BREAK Tries To Stem The Tide, But Only Time Will Tell

The 36th Durban International Film Festival in South Africa has wrapped its annual showcase of international film, with this year's menu providing distinctly more African fare under the new directorship of Pedro Pimenta.  South African documentary The Shore Break is...

Fantasia 2015 Review: CRUMBS Finds Ethiopia In Tarkovsky's Zone

Ethiopian post-apocalypse dystopian fairy tale Crumbs has a decaying handsomeness to match its unique vision. It has a confident and accomplished auteur unwillingness for either pandering or traditionally pleasing its audience, while simultaneously offering an archetypal hero-journey tale. If features an optimistic message...

LA Film Fest Review: I AM THALENTE, Skating On Passion, Finding Purpose

We all know the sound. That clack-scrape-whoosh of a skateboard on the sidewalk. For many of us it is as close to the sport as we get. When we hear that sound some of us move out of the way...

Sundance 2015 Review: THINGS OF THE AIMLESS WANDERER, A World-Class Stunner

To be absolutely mesmerized by a film, I mean totally transfixed, is a rare happening in cinema, but should be the norm, right? Rwandan director Kivu Ruhorahoza's Things Of The Aimless Wanderer is just such a film. Spectacular and ambitious...

Review: TIMBUKTU, Dreamy, Harrowing, And Rewarding

It's to the credit of Malian (by-way-of Mauritania) director Abderrahmane Sissako that he manages at times to make even the most horrifying of human behaviour still, in some ways, darkly funny. Timbuktu is a story as desiccated as the landscape...