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African Film Festival 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
7:00 p.m. Le Président
Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Cameroon/Germany, 2013)

Cameroonian filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Quartier Mozart, Les saignantes) is one of the most intriguing directors in Africa, unafraid to challenge either political or conceptual boundaries. His newest work uses split-screens (at times up to four images simultaneously) to present a fake documentary in which “the president” has disappeared; talk-show hosts, rivals, politicians, and even rappers chime in on what may have occurred, and what their president for life has (or has not) done for their country of Cameroon. “Being president means living the Hollywood dream,” wryly notes one commentator; this film, mixing reality, fiction, interviews, and staged scenes, finds life and reason not in Hollywood, but in its own homeland. “We shouldn’t just be making movies, we should be changing reality,” charges Bekolo; this formally inventive, angry, and at times humorous work begins the process.

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Simon Njami. Photographed by Didier Mercier, Dieudonné Mballa Mballa, Bertrand Ngah, Ruth Essangui. With Gérard Essomba, Valery Ndongo, Valsero, Max Essouma. (63 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, Digital video, From Seagull Films)

Preceded by:
Fuelling Poverty (Ishaya Bako, Nigeria, 2012). Music by Femi Kuti and Asa flavors this investigative documentary on one of the most stunning frauds in history, in which roughly seven billion dollars were taken from the Nigerian people through the misappropriation of oil subsidy funds. (30 mins, In English, Pidgin, Yoruba, and Hausa with English subtitles, Color, Beta SP)