This festival of work by black artists from around the world continues Friday, August 11, through Thursday, August 31, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are $9, $5 for Film Center members; for more information call 312-846-2800. Following is the schedule for August 11 through 17; a complete festival schedule is available online at www.chicagoreader.com
R The Governor’s New Clothes
In this 2005 musical based on “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” a “Zerbo” man with a “Krowa” wife (reference to Serbs and Croats intended) is made a provincial governor in Africa, and schemers try to use the feud between these ethnic groups to oust him. Director Mweze D. Ngangura says Bollywood was an influence, and the Afropop lite works well in this gentle and humane plea for ethnic tolerance. It’s also a nice demonstration of how power depends on appearance and ceremony. (87 min.) Also showing is Yann Chayia’s Monsieur Etienne (2005, 23 min.), the story of an old man trying to decide which of two friends’ funerals to attend and an affecting portrait of the rhythms of aging. Both in French with subtitles. (FC) a Mon 8/14, 8 PM, and Thu 8/17, 6:15 PM.
Love African American Style
Shorts in various formats by Christine F. Turner, Layla Mashavu, Harold R. Caldwell, and Chicago native Dale Pierce Nelson, who will attend the screening. 90 min. a Thu 8/17, 8:30 PM.
I’d have chewed my own leg off to escape from this indie romance by Frank Goodin II, an admirer of Spike Lee who replicates the archness of Lee’s early films but lacks his saving anger and wit. Shot in Jacksonville, Florida, the movie centers on a proud black man (Julius Golden) and a proud black woman (Arlicia Love) whose proud black love is derailed by the machinations of her slutty girlfriend (Jamica Sherman). A limp FM-soul score ticktocks endlessly in the background, heedless of the story’s tone, and the abundant voice-over is often laughably pompous. 105 min. (JJ) a Fri 8/11, 6 PM, and Tue 8/15, 8:15 PM.
Two feuding clans gather in an Arkansas hotel in this 2005 comedy by Sheila Norman, who will attend the screening. 110 min. a Sat 8/12, 8:15 PM, and Sun 8/13, 5:30 PM.
Like Kevin Smith’s Clerks, this freewheeling comedy about goof-off college students in Georgia depends almost entirely on the actors’ charm rather than the plot or direction. The cast is likable and spirited, though writer-director-star Hadjii tends to falter whenever he aims for satire (among his broad targets are clueless whites, born-again church groups, and literacy programs). As long as one isn’t looking for insight, this is good, light fun. 88 min. (JR) Video projection. Hadjii will attend the screening. a Fri 8/11, 8 PM, and Wed 8/16, 8:15 PM.
Shorts on city life by Akintola Hanif, Malik Booth, Tina Mabry, B. Radical, and Andrew Shearer. 84 min. Booth will attend the screening. a Sat 8/12, 6 PM.