Black Harvest International Film and Video Festival | Movie Sidebar | Chicago Reader

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Black Harvest International Film and Video Festival


Black Harvest International Film and Video Festival

This festival of films and videos by black artists from all over the world--which replaces the Blacklight Film Festival and has a new team of programmers--continues Friday through Sunday, August 8 through 10, at the Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Tickets are $6, $3 for Film Center members; a $45 festival pass is good for admission to all films. For more information call 312-443-3737.


Family Name

A personal documentary (1996) by Macky Alston about his family's history as slave owners in North Carolina. (6:00)

Tableau Ferraille

Moussa Sene Absa's French-Senegalese film comments on the problems of a developing Africa. Daam, an idealistic politician from the town of Tableau Ferraille (whose name means "junk scene"), ascends to power and tangles with a local construction firm, President & Company. The personal and the political become ensnarled as President wins a bridge contract by bribing one of Daam's two wives for confidential information and Daam then faces corruption charges. The film itself is a nuanced tableau of the conflicts faced by contemporary Africans, but the camera rarely does more than center the action on the screen. On the same program, Avril Russell's short Revolver, a quirky but chaotic view of the diverse characters who call a nighttime radio DJ in Britain. (FC) (7:45)


Everyone's Child

This 1996 Zimbabwean film, directed by Tsitsi Dangarembga and sponsored by several development agencies, is weighed down by its good intentions. Three rural children are orphaned when their parents die of AIDS; after an uncle and the neighbors abandon them (signaling the breakdown of traditional social structures) the daughter is forced into prostitution, and the older son seeks his fortune on the streets of Harare. Though it effectively portrays the boy's life in the street gangs of the capital and the girl's entrapment by an older man, the film is a mess, a pastiche of visual styles and preachy songs that rather ridiculously delineate the social issues. On its own, however, the sound track offers an interesting selection of contemporary Zimbabwe music. On the same program, two shorts: Rachel Liebert and Barbara Parker's Undertaker and Omonike Akinyemi's Medusa Talks. (FC) (4:00)

Tableau Ferraille

See listing under Friday, August 8. (6:00)

Macadam Tribe

This 1996 debut by African director Jose Laplaine provides an insightful view of urban dislocation and the new communities that form in a changing Africa. Set in an unnamed city, the film follows two brothers, an auto mechanic and a boxer, as they talk and gamble at a local bar; the episodic story abjures narrative tension in favor of vignettes that reveal character and community. Laplaine traces the shifting forces that bind his characters; in cities, he says, most "have never known their tribe . . . they form a tribe in the neighborhood, around the bar or the boxing club." The TV in the bar reminds us of the outside world: images of an old Muhammad Ali fight provide an ironic and disjunctive counterpoint to the brother's boxing career. Laplaine sets his characters in desolate cityscapes to express the contradictions between their grand aspirations and the opportunities open to them. (FC) (8:15)


Macadam Tribe

See listing under Saturday, August 9. (4:00)

Tableau Ferraille

See listing under Friday, August 8. (6:00)

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Tableau Ferraille film still.

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