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African Film Festival, New York

The annual African Film Festival provides a striking opportunity to learn about Africa and the African diaspora through recent films. The concerns of African filmmakers are often aesthetic and political—the desire to depict the realities of their everyday lives and to interpret their history from their own perspective. A number of the featured documentaries look to the past to examine forces that continue to influence the present. Our Beloved Sudantraces the complex history leading to the partition of Sudan; The Unbroken Spirit focuses on the courageous fight for a multiparty democracy in Kenya; and the arc of Black Africa, White Marble moves from colonial-era to present-day Republic of Congo. All three take the vantage point of one individual in order to bring to life a larger history. Other documentaries observe life as it unfolds and portray collective experience: the poeticBroken Stones depicts Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the earthquake and Africa Shafted focuses on Johannesburg, South Africa as it absorbs immigrants from all over Africa. Microphone celebrates Egypt’s vibrant youth culture of hip-hop and graffiti art, while How to Steal 2 Million, a stylish noir, and a number of short films highlight the creative spirit of younger filmmakers.

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