PLANET AFRICA 2000
It's 2000, the dawn of the 21st century, TIFF celebrates 25 years and Planet Africa is in its 5th year (the halfway point). This year June Givanni returns with fellow UK programmer Gaylene Gould to usher in a new millennium.
“High-octane action thrillers, quiet verité visions, and sensuous big-screen epics; tales of pain, humor, passions, violence and love; highly anticipated new work from celebrated filmmakers and sparking first-time visions...” – June Givanni
September 7 - 16, 2000
Planet Africa Programmers' Note
The beauty of Planet Africa is that it celebrates the diversity of artistic expressions that constitutes a cinematic diaspora. High-octane action thrillers, quiet verité visions, and sensuous big-screen epics; tales of pain, humor, passions, violence and love; highly anticipated new work from celebrated filmmakers and sparking first-time visions from new talent. If there is a unifying phase that links the films and filmmakers of Planet Africa this year, it is the pursuit of truth. This year’s programme promises to inspire debate with its tantalizingly controversial aesthetic and thematic selections.
Opening Planet Africa this year is the fast-paced satire of a crime thriller, Hijack Stories, from director Oliver Schmitz. Based on the classic Mapantsula story, this film centres on the real and imagined lives of contemporary gangsters in Soweto.
One of the diaspora’s most powerful filmmakers, Raoul Peck, presents his much-awaited political thriller, Lumumba, a dramatic portrayal of the political life and death of Patrice Lumumba, one of Africa’s most strident exponents of anti-colonialism. Lumumbais one of this year’s special presentations.
The coming-of-age story is handled very differently in Moroccan Nabil Ayouch’s beautifully touching epic, Ali Zaoua, and in first-time French filmmaker Fabrice Genestal’s gritty but stylish ghetto drama, La Squale. Nevertheless, both films deal with the effects of poverty on the young, marry innocence with the realities of violence, and champion the transcendent power of friendship.
Guy Deslauriers’ Passage du milleu and Roger Gnoan M’Bala’s Adanggaman excavate the silence around Africa’s history, scrutinizing on of the history’s biggest taboos, transatlantic slavery. Deslauriers’ impressionistic film captures resonant images, which replace a thousand words. In the deeply controversial Adanggaman, which explores the compliance of African chiefs in the slave trade, M’bala directs the camera like a painter uses canvas and the result is a beautiful and sensitive film depicting a horrifying reality.
Journeys, whether made of out economic necessity, by force, or in the pursuance of dreams, characterize the diaspora reality and the epic myth. Three films in this year’s programme focus on the journeying hero. In Bye Bye Africa, director Mahamet-Saleh-Haroun creates a kooky travelogue of his return voyage home. Yousry Nasrallah, one of Egypt’s freshest voices, depicts an ambitious man’s symbolic journey from Cairo to Paris in El Medina (La Ville). Jean-Marie Teno returns to the Festival this year with Vacances au pays, demonstrating his signature critical look at his native Cameroon, simultaneously sharing personal reflections.
The satirical comedy is a genre that African filmmakers have championed, and here, Cheick Oumar Sissoko adds his particular epic flavour to the genre in Battu. Marking a new departure for African films aspiring to reach the global marketplace, the film stars Hollywood actor Danny Glover and West African Isaach de Bankole.
The US independent contribution to Planet Africa this year is Carl Seaton’s One Week, which displays touches of genius and an assured cinematic vision in its depiction of a mid-western family dealing with the threat of AIDS.
A remarkable new meditation on the politics and experiences of Tunisian women, La Saison des Hommes recounts the tale of a newlywed woman who longs to break with tradition.
Spanning these genres, and united in their thematic discourse on love, are this year’s contributions from our short film directors. Contemplative, witty, tragic and playful, these distinct films – from Alian Gomis, Munga Tunda Djo, Aaron Woolfolk, Alrick Riley, Mehdi Ben Attia and Zina Modiano, Charles Hall and Dumisani Phakathi – showcase tomorrow’s feature talents from around the world.
Planet Africa is - as always – a potent mixture of powerful, the personal and the fantastical. The tapestry this year is very rich.
June Givanni and Gaylene Gould
Planet Africa, Program Introduction
25th Annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
TIFF PA PROGRAMMING TEAM:
Gaylene Gould, Planet Africa Programmer
Orla La-Wayne Garriques, Planet Africa Program Assistant
FILMS & FILMMAKERS:
Adanggaman | Roger Gnoan M'Bala | CIV
Ali Zaoua | Nabil Ayouch | MAR
Are You Cinderella? (short) | Charles Hall | USA
Auguy (short) | Munga Tunda Do | COG/BEL
Bàttu | Cheick Oumar Sissoko | SEN/FRA/UK
Bye Bye Africa | Mahamat Saleh Haroun | TCD/FRA
Christmas With Granny (short) | Dumisani Phakathi | ZAF
The Elevator (short) | Alrick Riley | UK
El Medina (La Ville) | Yousry Nasrallah | FRA/EGY
En Face | Zina Modiano & Mehdi Ben Attia | FRA
Hijack Stories | Oliver Schmitz | DEU/UK
Lumumba | Raoul Peck | FRA/BEL/HTI/DEU (Special Presentation)
One Week | Carl Seaton | USA
Passage du Milieu | Guy Deslauriers | MTQ
La saison des hommes | Moufida Tlatli | TUN/FRA
La Squale | Fabrice Genestal | FRA
The Station (short) | Aaron Woolfolk | USA/JPN
Tourbillons | Alain Gomis | SEN
Vacances Au Pays | Jean-Marie Teno | CMR/FRA/DEU