Cinemafrique: African Foreign Language Oscar Hopefuls, Scotland's Africa In Motion Film Festival & A Stunning Senegalese Fashion Short
Okayafrica's Cinemafrique looks at African film and TV news on foreign language Oscar contenders, Scotland's Africa In Motion and more.
Four African Films Vie For Foreign Language Oscar Nomination
With the 2015 Academy Awards a mere four months away, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the full list of films vying for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Out of the 73 countries that submitted films for consideration in the prestigious category, four films from African directors are in the running to make the shortlist before it's whittled down to the final five. Final nominations for the Best Foreign Language Film will be announced on January 15, 2015, with the nine shortlisted entries announced a week in advance. The 87th Academy Awards are set to take place on February 22, 2015. Scroll on for a brief synopsis and trailer for each film.
Factory Girl (Egypt, dir. Mohamed Khan)
Factory Girl tells the story of Hiyam, a young factory worker, who lives in a lower-middle-class neighborhood, along with her co-workers. She is clearly under the spell of Salah, the factory's new supervisor, who has expressed his admiration for her. She believes love can transcend the class differences between them. However, when a pregnancy test is discovered in the factory premises, her immediate family and close friends accuse her of sinning. Hiyam decides not to defend herself and pays an enormous price in a society that fails to accept independent women. Factory Girl examines the changes that take place in her life over the four seasons of the year. From falling in love to facing heartbreak, her life comes around full circle by the end of the year.
Timbuktu (Mauritania, dir. Abderrahmane Sissako)
Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes when Kidane accidentally kills Amadou, the fisherman who slaughtered "GPS", his beloved cow. He now has to face the new laws of the foreign occupants.
The Red Moon (Morocco, dir. Hassan Benjelloun)
The Red Moon is a biopic chronicling the rise and fall of of Abdeslam Amer, a great Moroccan songwriter who is considered a legendary figure in Moroccan music history. Abdeslam is a blind child prodigy from a poor family who succeed academically. Zahra, his classmate, never shared his passion but was the exclusive inspiration of his work. In the late '50s, the young prodigy manages to release his first song which was written, composed and sung by himself. The sixties are the glory years of the Moroccan song. Abdeslam's journey in Cairo, with his first companions, Abdelhadi Belkhayat and Abdelhay Scalli, constituted a rewarding experience full of surprises. After the Arab defeat in 1967, Amer will be forced to return to Morocco. After four years of intense productions, Amer dominates the world of the music, has a successful marriage and is living in certain material comfort, going from success to success. But one last obstacle awaits Amer. In 1971, he falls into disfavor becoming a pariah.
Elelwani (South Africa, dir. Ntshaveni Wa Lurul)
Elelwani and her boyfriend are in love and plan to spend the rest of their lives together. They are both educated and live urban lives with aspirations to travel abroad. After the University graduation Elelwani returns to her family in the rural countryside to introduce her boyfriend and announce their future plans. But the weight of tradition bears heavily on her family and they refuse to accept the union. The father wants his daughter to become the wife of the local king, despite her insistent refusal. What unfolds is a secret hidden by the royal family from the community and Elelwani is destined to uncover these mysteries and deceptions.