30 October 2012
Last night Glasgow was treated to a hearty selection of African short films at the GFT. With eight films from all over the continent being screened in one sitting it was a lot to take in but was well worth our sore bums.
The first film to be screened was the whimsical and beautifully realized animation – Le Parrain (The Godfather), perhaps especially geared towards children it is nevertheless one of the few brilliant examples of films that can cross the boundary between children and adult humor. The particularly un-Disney and existential ending was a pleasure and perfect opening to the evening.
We were then returned to a more realist and somewhat art house aesthetic with Dog, which highlighted the contrast between city and country lifestyles in South Africa. This marked a turn towards a grittier and politically charged strand of films that continued with the somewhat bleak Who Killed Me and Nola. Nola, in particular I felt, was fantastically well developed and beautifully shot, with transitions between the past and present we were given a full sense of Nola’s experience of post-prison life.
Watching Nola and the next films Mkhobbi Fi Kobba (Turbulence) and Salam Ghourba (Farwell exile) I also began to see and enjoy a feminist streak emerging. Mkhobbi Fi Kobba drew attention to the sexism apparent in teenage communities with words such as "slut" branding teenage girls and ruining their confidence and even physical health. However, the focus on the mother and daughter relationship allowed this film to have an optimistic and heart-warming ending, something that the film Salam Ghourba and its depiction of human trafficking and the relationship between mother and child could never hope to present.
The film Kichwateli (TV- head) provided a stop-break between these two films and returned us to a more surrealist use of the camera. Music video in style Kichwateli reflected on our media saturated world, and how this can be understood from a non-western perspective.
Lastly, and the audience’s and the Jury’s favourite, was Mwansa The Great, an ingenious depiction of childhood imagination and game-playing, whilst also perhaps a poltical commentary on the exploitation of resources in Zambia but through the eyes of the charming and captivating brother and sister duo.
Mwansa The Great, as the winner of both the Jury and Audience’s favourite, will be re-played at the closing ceremony, and the makers have won a £1000 cash prize, money well spent.
(words by Rebecca Wallwork)