Film
Image via FCAT's Flickr

​Here Are the '10 Best African Films of All Time,' According to Top International Critics

The list includes classic selections from Senegal, Chad, Mauritania, Ethiopia and Mali.

The 15th annual Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival (FCAT) wrapped this past weekend in Tarifa, Spain. The festival is dedicated to promoting and "subtitling the most relevant cinema productions" from the continent.

This year, the organization has added to its repertoire by commissioning a group of 10 well-respected critics and authorities on film to vote on, what they believe, are the best African films in the history of cinema. The organization calls the list "the first classification based on expert opinions of a cinematography which has gradually gained a foothold in Spain in recent years."

The film critics who created the list come from a number of backgrounds and countries and include journalists, directors, professors and more. You can see the full list of contributors below.

Their choices include selections from across the continent, with a notable number coming from Senegal and Mauritania. The titles include works from celebrated filmmakers Ousmane Sembéne, The Father of African Cinema; Med Hondo, Djibril Diop Mambéty and more.

These 10 films provide a crash-course on African cinema and are certainly worth diving into, if you haven't already.

Check out their choices below, beginning with Touki Bouki, the classic Senegalese film that's inspired everyone from bright-eyed filmmakers to Jay-Z and Beyoncé.


1. Touki Bouki by Djibril Diop Mambéty (Senegal, 1973)

Image via FCAT's Flickr

2. Yeelen by Souleymane Cissé (Mali, 1987)

Image via FCAT's Flickr

3. La noire de…by Ousmane Sembène (Senegal, 1966)

Image via FCAT's Flickr

4. Teza by Haile Gerima (Ethiopia, 2008)

Image via FCAT's Flickr

5. Daratt (Dry Season) by Mahamat Saleh Haroun (Chad, 2006)

Image via FCAT's Flickr

6. Hyènes by Djibril Diop Mambéty (Senegal, 1992)

Image via FCAT's Flickr

7. La Vie sur terre (Life on Earth) by Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania, 1998)

Image via FCAT's Flickr

8. Sarraounia by Med Hondo (Mauritania, 1986)

Image via FCAT's Flickr

9. Soleil Ô by Med Hondo (Mauritania, 1967)

IImage via FCAT's Flickr

10. Xala by Ousmane Sembène (Senegal, 1975)

Image via FCAT's Flickr

*

Contributing critics:

  1. Manu Yáñez (Spain) | Film critic at Fotogramas
  2. Javier H. Estrada (Spain) | Critic at Caimán Cuadernos de Cine. Programmer at Seville European Film Festival and Film Madrid.
  3. Beatriz Leal (Spain)| Art historian and film critic. Programmer at New York African Film Festival and university professor.
  4. Djia Mambu (Congo-Belgium) | Film critic and co-founder of the magazine specialising in African film criticism Awotele
  5. Olivier Barlet (France) | Film critic at Africultures, a portal specialising in contemporary African culture, author of numerous books on African cinema and programmer at Apt African Film Festival, France.
  6. Samir Ardjoum (Algeria) | Film critic for several Algerian and international media outlets specialising in African cinema. Programmer at Béjaïa Film Encounters (Algeria).
  7. Aboubacar Demba Cissokho (Senegal) | Film critic at the Senegalese Press Agency (APS)
  8. Leonardo de Franceschi (Italy) | Director and critic at Cinemafrica portal and professor at Rome 3 University. He has published several books on African cinema.
  9. Thierno Ibrahima Dia (Senegal) | Editor in chief and critic at the Africiné portal for African cinema. He is professor of Film Studies at Bordeaux Montaigne University.
  10. Luísa Freitas (Angola) | Film critic at Awotele magazine
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