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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–runs through Tuesday, July 18, at the Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson. Tickets are $5, $3 for Film Center members; a $30 festival pass is good for admission to each film. For more information call 443-3737)


Tongues Untied

Marlon Riggs’s 54-minute film (1990) about gay black male identity, featuring rap, poetry, song, dance, humor, and personal testimony. On the same program, two of Riggs’s shorter works, Anthem (1991) and No Regret (1992). Local filmmaker Zeinabu Irene Davis will introduce the program. (6:00)

When It Rains

See Critic’s Choice. (8:30)


Short Films by Laini Dakar, Zeinabu Irene Davis, Kimberly Green, and Camille Tucker

Laini Dakar’s Beyond the Agenda (1993) is about a six-year-old boy at a school for gifted children; Zeinabu Irene Davis’s Mother of the River is a children’s film based on an African folk tale about a young slave girl in the American south in the 1850s; and Kimberly Green and Camille Tucker’s Sweet Potato Ride (1993) is about the adventures of a Los Angeles boy running away from home. (4:00)

Black Is . . . Black Ain’t

The last work of the late Marlon Riggs, completed by colleagues after his death from AIDS last year, is a documentary feature using archival footage and interviews to explore the experience of African-Americans. Among those interviewed are Angela Davis, Bell Hooks, and Cornel West; performances by Essex Hemphill and Bill T. Jones are also included. (6:00)

A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lord

A documentary by Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson about the black lesbian poet. Local filmmaker Yvonne Welbon will provide an introduction. (8:00)


Working the Spirit

Three films celebrating the spiritual life, including sacred rituals, songs, and dances, in the African diaspora: Gloria Rolando’s Cuban Oggun: Tradiciones Afrocubanas (1992); Pierre Desir’s The Gods & the Thief (1993), an experimental work from the U.S. adapting a Haitian myth; and Osuntoki Mojisola’s Osun: Her Worship, Her Powers (1994), a U.S. film made partially in Nigeria. Independent screenwriter Marc Chery will provide an introduction. (4:15)

Independent Videos

Black Burstings/Black Visions presents a program of independent videos by black artists, including O. Funmilayo Makarah, Jocelyn Taylor, Portia Cobb, Christy Minor, Mary Ann Foreman, and Cyrille Phipps, all made in 1993 and 1994. (6:30)


Shida and Matatizo

An hour-long Tanzanian film by Flora M’mbugu-Schelling (1993) that mixes fact and fiction in a story about two exploited children. On the same program, Fanta Regina Nacro’s A Certain Morning, a short work from Burkina Faso. (6:00)


The highest grossing feature to date from Zimbabwe (1992), this film by Godwin Mawuru charts the struggle of a widow who’s exploited by her brother-in-law; with Jesesi Mungoshi and Dominic Kanaventi. On the same program, Danny Thompson’s short, Fathers, Sons and Unholy Ghosts (1994). (7:30)



Since his extraordinary first feature Touki Bouki (1973)–the first experimental feature in African cinema–Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety has survived mainly as a stage and film actor, and expectations about his second feature naturally ran high. (Last year he made a highly praised 44-minute film, The Franc, that surfaced this year at the Berlin film festival.) My first response to Hyenas was that it’s a safer film than its predecessor, but on further reflection I find it in many ways a more considered and mature work, with ironies that may turn out to be even deadlier. This is an African adaptation of Friedrich DŸrrenmatt’s famous Swiss play The Visit (also filmed, rather unsatisfactorily, by Bernhard Wicki with Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn in the mid-60s): A wealthy, aging woman returns to the impoverished village she left many years before and offers a fortune to the people there if they will murder a local shopkeeper who seduced, impregnated, and abandoned her when she was 16. At first the villagers disdainfully reject her offer, but then they decide they’re at least entitled to purchase the shopkeeper’s goods on credit, and then their taste for luxuries starts to grow–clearly a comic allegory about contemporary colonialism, consumerism, and what they have to do with each other. Mambety shows an able hand in managing his talented cast and cuts quite a commanding figure in a pivotal small role. (6:00)

Soul Survivor

This black independent feature by Canadian filmmaker Stephen Williams, set in Toronto’s Jamaican community, focuses on a poor hero who joins forces with his Rastafarian cousin to do brutal enforcement work for a loan shark; with Peter Williams, David Smith, and Judith Scott. (8:15)


Wendemi, Child of the Good Lord

A socially conscious feature from Burkina Faso (1993) by S. Pierre Yameogo about an abandoned baby who grows up into a troubled youth searching for his identity as he moves from village to capital. (6:00)


See listing under Tuesday, July 11. (8:00)


The Blue Eyes of Yonta

A tragicomic feature by Flora Gomes (1991), set and filmed in Guinea-Bissau, about the secret love of a young girl in the city of Bissau who’s secretly loved by someone else. On the same program, Maureen Blackwood’s short film, Home Away From Home (1994). (6:00)

Murder Magic

A 1992 feature directed by Windell Williams about the enmity between an ambitious Brooklyn poilitician (D. Ruben Green) and his brother (Ron C. Jones), who’s just been released from a North Carolina prison for killing their father. Williams will attend the screening. (6:00)