Sunday, 30 December 2012

Name the last African movie to make you cry:

When was the last time an African movie made you cry? Like really cry. You know, one of those films that you watch and you can connect with the story and believe the possibility of it being true and that raw realness coupled with a truly heart-wrenching plot just has you streaming either openly or silently to yourself.

Maami would be my answer.

I won tickets to see it during the Film Africa festival in London a couple of months ago. The film quality was impeccable, clearly shot by a director who understands the effect of varied of frames. It didn't feel like a camera had been sat upon a tripod somewhere in the corner of a room, like many other films do. Most importantly, Maami is the mark of a director who knows how to identify a good story. Maami is a novel which Tunde Kelani then visualised.

I want to buy that novel now (and I've said that about any book adaptation before). Maami is a native story. It's an accessible story and it shows me something I can believe. The reason I'm talking about this is because my sister recently went to the 'Contract' premiere in Ghana and as she has said for a few other African films, "would it really happen like that in Ghana? cos I feel like Africans are trying to apply an America storyline to their culture, and that doesn't feel real". The best films, (comedies, dramas, romances, witchcraft whatever the genre) connect with you. They move you through all your emotions, they have you thinking "could this happen? this could happen!"

The Media Is Society's Way Of Communicating With Itself. That means the message being given to the audience has to come from the audience themselves and I know that the majority of middle class Ghanaians attending premieres might decide that these films reflect their lives and I won't deny that really, but for the national narrative to grow, to add some organic reality, some unique West African-ness let's vary up those stories. Let's find those "Maami"-type stories. Let's be drawn to cry, even involuntarily, for good or bad. Let's harvest more stories from the ordinary person and sell our unique export - life in Africa.

Happy New Year guys!

p.s. I've not yet seen Contract and despite the sentiment of expressed above, my sister said she and my cousin really enjoyed it. So if you get the opportunity go to the cinema, support Yvonne Okoro, Hlomla Dandala and African film in general. I'm definitely looking forward to watching it. It's got my two fave actors, hands down.

p.p.s. Please actually let me know the last film to move you to tears either through laughing so hard or being genuinely sad. Twitter handle: @thebellower or in the comments down below.

"I don't really have a choice.. this is the only culture  know so well, I don't even think I could pray to God in English" - Tunde Kelani

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