African Movies are a must watch as they capture realism, humor , sadness , hate and passion in way that deeply engrosses the audience. Below are 10 masterpieces arranged in no particular manner.
- Timbuktu (2014)
The city of Timbuktu is under the occupation of extremist Islamists. Kidane is a cattle herder who lives outside of the city. One day, one of his cows accidentally damages the net of a fisherman. The enraged fisherman kills the cow, Kidane confronts the fisherman and accidentally shoots him dead. The jihadists arrest Kidane and, per sharia law, demand a blood money payment of 40 cattle to the fisherman’s family. As Kidane has only seven cattle, he is sentenced to death. The film follows the characters reaction to the jihadist rule, the realism of the oppression they undergo is stunning and a visual masterpiece, for example young men play with an imaginary ball as sports is banned, a couple are buried to their necks in sand and stoned for adultery.
Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako the film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, it won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the François Chalais Prize. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards and the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language at the 69th British Academy Film Awards. It won Best Film at the 11th Africa Movie Academy Awards. The film was named the twelfth “Best Film of the 21st Century So Far” in 2017 by The New York Times. The movie has a 99% rating at Rotten Tomatoes
- Sarafina! (1992)
This 1992 South African musical masterpice starring Leleti Khumalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Miriam Makeba, John Kani and Tertius Meintejis directed by Darell Roodt is set during the apartheid era. This powerful movie follows students who were involved in the Soweto Riots. The title character Sarafina feels ashamed of her mother acceptance of her domestic servant role in a white household and inspires her peers to rise up in protest especially after her teacher was imprisoned. The film includes memorable songs enabling the audience to feel what the characters are feeling for example Siwelele Mama and the Prison Song. It also shows the gritty realism of suffering faced by South Africans during the Apartheid Era.
- The Gods might be crazy (1980)
One of funniest and greatest african classics of all time, this south African comedy was written and directed by Jamie Uys. Set in Botswana, it follows the story of Xi whose tribe has no knowledge of the world beyond. One day a glass bottle of Coca Cola is thrown from an airplane falling unbroken, they see it a present from the Gods and find many uses for it but soon enough it brings a lot of conflict thus deemed a curse. After consultation with the elders Xi agrees to make a pilgrimage to the edge of the world and dispose of the cursed object along the way he encounters an assortment of people from a biologist to a band of guerrillas. We the audience share the diverse emotions of Xi as he is exposed to world that he had no prior knowledge of, we not only get laugh at Xi naivety but also Andrew’s failure to tell Kate how he feels.
Certified fresh on rotten tomatoes with a rating of 95% the movie earned more than 60 million dollars against a budget of 5 million dollars
- Guelwaar (1992)
Written and Directed in 1993 by Africa’s founding father on filmmaking; Ousmane Semebene. The film is set in Senegal, a muslim and a catholic die on the same day and as per the muslim custom the Islamic villagers claim the body of their own for immediate burial however they get the catholic’s body, while Pierre Henri “Geulwaar” Thioune cadaver is missing, rumours spread that his death may have been a assassination in retaliation for his political beliefs and constant critism of the current regime. As detective Gora investigates we the audience learn of the intricasies of Guelwaar, a complicated man guilty of his own share of sins, the story is turned into chess game of multiple characters and an engrossing African drama that really challenges our views on morals.
Guelwaar had a rating of 100% on Rotten tomatoes the film won The President of the Italian Senate’s Gold Medal at the 49th Venice International Film Festival.
- Viva Riva ! (2010)
Written and Directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga, this Congolese crime thriller movie follows Riva who comes back home with gasoline stolen from his sometime employer Cesar, with plenty of cash to spend, he is out for a good time and soon falls for Nora the patner of a local gangster Azor. A midst all the chaos and tension of Cesar and Azor wanting to kill Riva an Angolan crime lord steps into the picture making the movie vibrant, violent and stylish.
The movie is certified fresh on rotten tomatoes with a rating of 85%. The film recieved 12 nominations and won 6 awards at the 7th Africa Movie Academy Awards. Viva Riva! Also won at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards for best African Movie
- Nairobi Half Life(2012)
Mwas still lives with parents in their rural home in Kenya, he makes a living selling pirated western action films and dramatically acts some scenes in order to entince his customers. As an aspiring actor he decides to go to Nairobi to achieve his dream. Upon arriving in the city under the sun he is greeted with the harsh reality of life as he looses everything on the first day to Nairobi thugs, he gets arrested and spends the day in jail. The film sees Mwas meet Oti in prison who takes him in in his criminal gang and soon afterward he successfully auditions for a play. Mwas is soon finds himself struggling and juggling the two worlds.
What really set apart Nairobi Half Life is its fundamental honesty and vivid realism depicted by its director David “Tosh” Gitonga. The film was selected as the Kenyan entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards
- Soul Boy (2010)
This intriguing Kenyan film follows the story of Abila who lives with his parents in Kibera, he discovers his father seriously ill and delirious, his father tells him that someone stole his soul ,shocked and confused Abila goes to search for the Nyawawa (Witch) that stole his father soul, The Nyawawa tells Abila that he must accomplish 7 tasks so as to save his father. Supported by his girlfriend Shiku, he embarks on an adventurous journey that leads him right to the heart of the microcosm that is his hometown.
The film received five nominations at the 2011 African Movie Academy Awards as well as numerous international awards
Tsotsi is a local South African hoodlum who lives by a code of violence, he and his gang rule the streets of Johannesburg day and night attacking those who fail to give them what they want. After shooting a woman and stealing her car, he discovers her baby in her back seat, instead of harming the baby Tsotsi takes the baby to his slum and begins to develop deep emotions, the child acts as a catalyst for the hardened thug to regain his humanity revealing the gutsy and heartfelt of the movie
With a 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes the movie is directed by Gavin Hood.Tsotsi won an Oscar award for the best foreign language film
- Moolaade (2004)
Written and directed and directed by the great Ousmene Sembene, with the title meaning Magical Protection it tackles the subject of Female Genital Mutilation
The film is set in a colourful Burkina Faso village dotted with termite mounds, and a mosque made from clay that resembles a gigantic hedgehog. Collé is the second of her husband’s three wives. She is the most intelligent, humorous, charming, and is also loved most by her husband, who is portrayed as a temperate enlightened man. Her nubile daughter, Amasatou, has become engaged, although she has not undergone the female circumcision, considered a prerequisite for marriage in the local tradition. Collé opposes this practice leading the elders in the village, women as well as men, to despise her daughter. Amasatou herself unceasingly requests to have her genitals cut to secure her social status and marriage acceptance, but Collé remains unmoved. She is willing to protect not only her daughter from the life-threatening genital cutting but also four little girls who join her to refuse the practice. Collé draws a symbolic line, the colorful rope Moolaadé, a “magical protection,” across the gate of the family’s premises. Moolaadé prevents the women elders who carry out the practice, and who have been searching for the girls, from entering the house.
Moolaade is considered one of Ousmane’s best work receiving a fresh score at rotten tomatoes with an outstanding aggregate of 99%. In the film won at the prestigious Cannes film festival and in 2016 the film was ranked among 100 greatest films since 2000 in the world.
- The Wedding Party (2016)
Nigerian’s highest grossing movie of all time follows Dunni, a 24 year old art gallery owner and only daughter of her parents, Engineer Bamidele and Mrs Tinuade Coker, who is about to marry the love of her life, IT entrepreneur Dozie, the handsome son of Chief Felix and Lady Obianuju Onwuka however things quickly blow out of propotions from unwanted guests, coldhearted future in laws to Dunni’s uncertainty over Dozzie’s faithfulness, also the intermarriage of two ethnic groups only adds gasoline to the fire.This witty and extremely funny movie directed by Kemi Adetiba led by a stellar cast of who’s who in the Nigerian acting community.