Film Screening: African Cinema, 1966 to the Present, La Belle at the Movies (2015) and Twaaga (2013)

Twaaga, 2013. Photograph: Courtesy Bizibi Productions

Twaaga, 2013. Photograph: Courtesy Bizibi Productions

La Belle at the Movies (2015) is a documentary that explores the rise and fall of the movie house and the corresponding popularity of American cowboy films in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Twaaga (2013), a short film set in Burkina Faso, West Africa, takes place after Thomas Sankara’s revolution of 1983 and is told from the perspective of a young boy who is infatuated with both Marvel superheroes and his older brother. Comparing and interweaving African and American notions of heroism, fantasy, and greatness, Twaaga and La Belle at the Movies remind viewers of the mythic qualities that are fundamental to one’s self-construction and identification—in any society.

African Cinema, 1966 to the Present is a series of film screenings, taking place over three afternoons in February, which explores representations of African identity in cinema. The first screening, on Friday, February 3, begins with the post-colonial moment in 1960s Senegal, comparing this genesis—as depicted in La Noire de … (1966)—to Afripedia: Senegal (2014), a contemporary web series documentary that spotlights African artists working in Senegal today. The second screening, on Friday, February 10, investigates the theme of migration, a complex and nuanced aspect of African identity, as examined in Tey (2012). The third and final screening, on Friday, February 24, focuses on African celebrations of the cinema experience itself, delving into the universal joy of going to the movies with La Belle at the Movies (2015) and Twaaga (2013). The series is organized in conjunction with the new installation of the Laura and James J. Ross Gallery of African Art.