This year’s edition of the African Film Festival moves from Sudan (before it split in two) to Brazil, the Ivory Coast to Israel, as it spotlights new work from Africa and the African diaspora. We’re delighted to bring feature debuts like Bazi Gete’s Red Leaves, a subtle drama set within the Ethiopian Jewish community of Israel, and Philippe Lacôte’s Run, a fiery new political coming-ofage fable from the Ivory Coast that was the first Ivorian feature ever invited to the Cannes Film Festival. We also welcome back some films by legendary makers, such as Mauritanian maestro Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu, a humanist satire on the jihadist takeover of that city, which earned acclaim and notoriety during its festival run, and the Senegalese pioneer Ousmane Sembene’s 1966 classic Black Girl, which is showcased in a new digital restoration. A more recent favorite, Michel Ocelot’s animated gem Kirikou and the Sorceress, also returns for a family-friendly matinee.
In addition to bringing us new intriguing short films on African art, the festival also presents a new crop of documentaries, including Gabriel Mascaro’s Housemaids, a profile of Brazilian housemaids filmed by their teenage charges, and Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque’s heartbreaking profile of the Sudan, The Longest Kiss.
Jason Sanders, Film Notes Writer