how african cinema is making waves at the berlin film festival

How African Cinema is Making Waves at the Berlin Film Festival

The Berlin Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale, is one of the most prestigious and influential film festivals in the world. The festival, which runs from February 15 to 25, 2024, showcases a diverse and eclectic selection of films from various genres, countries, and cultures. Among the films that are competing for the coveted Golden Bear the award, the highest honor of the festival, are several works from African filmmakers, who are making waves with their original and compelling stories.

What are the African films in the competition?

The African films that are in the running for the Golden Bear are:

  • The Last of Us by Nadine Labaki (Lebanon/Egypt): A dystopian thriller that follows a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world, where a mysterious virus has wiped out most of humanity.
  • The Milkmaid by Desmond Ovbiagele (Nigeria): A drama that explores the impact of religious extremism and violence on the lives of two sisters, who are abducted by a militant group in northern Nigeria.
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin by Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia/France): A satire that tells the story of a Syrian refugee, who agrees to become a living artwork for a famous tattoo artist, in exchange for a visa to Europe.
  • Night of the Kings by Philippe Lacôte (Ivory Coast/France/Canada): A fantasy that revolves around a young man, who is imprisoned in a notorious jail in Abidjan, and is forced to tell stories to the other inmates for an entire night.
  • This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Lesotho/South Africa/Italy): A drama that follows an elderly woman, who defies the authorities and her community, when they try to relocate her village to make way for a dam.

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How are African films received by the critics and the audience?

The African films have received rave reviews and applause from the critics and the audience at the Berlin Film Festival. The films have been praised for their artistic vision, social relevance, cultural diversity, and humanistic values. The films have also been recognized for their contribution to the development and promotion of African cinema, which has often been marginalized and underrepresented in the global film industry.

Some of the accolades and comments that the African films have received are:

  • The Last of Us: “A stunning and haunting film that offers a bleak but hopeful vision of the future” (The Hollywood Reporter)
  • The Milkmaid: “A powerful and poignant film that exposes the horrors of terrorism and the resilience of the human spirit” (Variety)
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin: “A witty and provocative film that challenges the notions of identity, freedom, and art” (Screen International)
  • Night of the Kings: “A magical and mesmerizing film that celebrates the power of storytelling and the richness of African culture” (IndieWire)
  • This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection: “A moving and lyrical film that honors the dignity and resistance of the indigenous people” (The Guardian)

What are the chances of the African films to win the Golden Bear?

The chances of the African films to win the Golden Bear are high, as they have impressed the jury, which is composed of prominent and diverse film personalities, such as Mira Nair, Gael García Bernal, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Jasmila Žbanić, and Gianfranco Rosi. The jury will announce the winner of the Golden Bear on February 25, 2024, at the closing ceremony of the festival.

The African films are facing strong competition from other films in the contest, such as Nomadland by Chloé Zhao (USA), Minari by Lee Isaac Chung (USA), There Is No Evil by Mohammad Rasoulof (Iran), Never Rarely Sometimes Always by Eliza Hittman (USA), and Quo Vadis, Aida? by Jasmila Žbanić (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

However, the African films have a good chance of winning the Golden Bear, as they have demonstrated their artistic excellence, social relevance, and cultural diversity, which are the criteria that the jury will consider in their decision. The African films have also shown that they are not only worthy of recognition, but also of admiration and celebration.

The African films at the Berlin Film Festival have made waves with their original and compelling stories, which have captivated the critics and the audience. The films have also showcased the talent and potential of African filmmakers, who have overcome the challenges and limitations of the film industry in their continent, and have created works that reflect their realities, aspirations, and identities. The African films have also proven that they are contenders for the Golden Bear, the highest honor of the festival, and that they are representatives of the African cinema, which is vibrant, diverse, and influential.