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FCAT Votes 10 Best African Films Of All Time



The Tarifa-Tangiers African Film Festival (FCAT), to celebrate its 15th anniversary of promoting and subtitling African cinema productions, has voted for what it called the Best 10 Films produced in the history of African cinema.

The films were voted by international critics of African cinema, French, Olivier Barlet, and Italian critic at Rome 3 University, Leonardo de Franceschi, film critic at the Senegalese Press Agency, Aboubacar Cissokho, Editor-in-Chief and critic at the Africine Portal for African Cinema, Thierno Ibrahima, Film critic and co-founder of African film magazine, Awotele, Djia Mambu and colleague Luisa Freitas, and Samir Ardjoum, film critic for Algeria and international media and programmer at Bejaia Film Encounters, Algeria.

Other critics include Fotogramas film critic, Manu Yanez, film critic and programmer at New York Film Festival, Beatrice Leal; and Javier Estrada, critic and programmer at the Seville European Film Festival and Film Madrid.

Their picks saw West African directed films from Senegal and Mali, topping and dominating the list with five films, followed by Mauritania, and Chad.

Leading the list is Senegalese’s Djibril Diop Mambety’s Touki Bouki, which Barlet said, depicts ‘the rupture of a society whose members are torn between their home country and beyond.’ Barlet said, “the film marked a turning point in African cinema, with an avant-garde aesthetic; and remains an inexhaustible source of inspiration for directors in the 1970s and new generation filmmakers.”

Second on the list is Malian film director, Souleymane Cisse’s Yeelen (Brightness). Yeelen is described by Franceschi as “the initiatory journey of a young man whose destiny is to confront his father for power.”, According to the director, Cisse, the film, which won the 1987 Cannes Film Festival Critics Prize, “constructs a cryptic, visually dazzling tale which depicts the death of the divine and the advent of a new Africa born of fusion.”

Coming up third is 1966 film, La Noire de by Senegalese, Ousmane Sembene. Senegalese expert, Aboubacar Demba Cissokho, refers to it as “the first feature film made by a director from black Africa which tackles among other themes, the issue of racism.” “It continues to be a highly modern act of accusation against European neo-colonialism, the exploitative dynamics which continue to mark north-south relations and the alienation which deserts interpersonal relationships,” added Franceschi.

Other films in the list which received equal number of votes include Teza by Ethiopian Haile Gerima, Daratt (Dry Season) by Chadian Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Hyenes by Djibril Diop Mambety, La Vie Sur Terre by Mauritanian, Abderrahmane Sissako, Sarraounia and Soleil O, by another Mauritanian Med Hondo, and Ousmane Sembene’s 1975 production Xala.

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