Tuesday, September 22, 2020
No menu items!
Advertisment
Home News Stay home and stream: African film and TV to watch during lockdown

Stay home and stream: African film and TV to watch during lockdown

As more nations go on lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, movie theatres across the world find themselves out of service. The good news is that there is a world of entertainment yet to be discovered from the comfort of your home.

Here’s a list of African films and television that are essential viewing and available for streaming (with links to where you can watch from). From pioneering classics to cult favourites and commercial crowd-pleasers, here’s what you should be getting lost in:

FILMS

93 Days (2016) – Nigeria 

As the world takes on the pandemic, 93 Days is a timely reminder of what is possible when resources and experts are deployed towards a common cause. One of the finest films to come out of Nigeria, this heartbreaking but inspirational chronicle tells the story of the country’s ultimately successful containment of Ebola in 2014. Featuring career best performances from actors Bimbo Akintola and Somkele Idhalama, 93 Days towers as both a terrific piece of cinema and a worthy salute to the heroes on the frontlines.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Netflix

Azali (2018) Ghana

Ghana’s first ever submission for the Oscars is a harrowing and shrewdly-observed deconstruction of poverty, gender inequality and illiteracy. Directed by Kwabena Gyansah, Azali traces the journey of Amina (Asana Alhassan), a 14-year old girl from northern Ghana, who is dispatched by her mother to neighbouring Burkina Faso in a bid to escape the clutches of early marriage. A triumph of storytelling stripped of artifice, Azali is a potent attempt at capturing what it means to live on the margins of society.

Where to watch: Netflix

Beauty and the Dogs (2017) – France/Tunisia

Beauty and the Dogs unfolds over one harrowing night. Its events are divided into nine chapters, each filmed by director Kaouther Ben Hania in a single take. Mariam (Mariam Al Ferjani), a young student, is raped by policemen after a party. Suffering rejection and humiliation from institutions designed to help, she struggles, alongside an accomplice, to overcome bureaucratic and structural barriers while fighting for her right to be heard – and seen – in post-revolution Tunis.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Youtube, GooglePlay

Black Girl (1966) – Senegal/France

What better time than the present to (re)discover the film widely regarded as sub-Saharan Africa’s first to make a dent in the international film stage? Black Girl may be 54 years old but the themes that Ousmane Sembène tackled in this now classic’s 55 minutes remain poignant today. The trauma ofcolonialism, racism and post-colonial identity in African bodies are all highlighted in the deceptively simple story of Diouana (Mbissine Thérèse Diop), a young Senegalese woman who moves to Paris to work as a maid for a French couple.

Where to watch: The Criterion Channel 

Isoken (2017) – Nigeria

What does a much put-upon woman do when she finds herself aged 34, unmarried and without a boyfriend? The protagonist of Isoken, directed by Jade Osiberu, submits to a family intervention. This film may present as a romantic comedy, but its bright colours and charming set pieces do not mask the pointed commentary on gender roles in upper class Nigerian society. The messaging on feminism is a bit muddled as Isoken cannot quite decide what it wants to say, but none of this detracts when the rest of the film is so cleverly attractive.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Netflix

Lumumba: Death of a Prophet (1990) – France/Switzerland/Germany

Mixing biography with history and personal experience, Haitian director Raoul Peck creates a fascinating frame around the cult figure of Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). Peck’s creative documentary uses Lumumba’s assassination as an entry point to examining his life and legend. Death of a Prophet serves as an informal corrective to the Western manipulation of Lumumba’s legacy.

Where to watch: Showmax

Much Loved (2015) – Morocco/France

Much Loved was banned in native Morocco in advance of its release. Director Nabil Ayouch and star Loubnar Abidar were summoned to court on charges of “pornography, indecency and inciting minors to debauchery”. While Much Loved has its fair share of graphic imagery, it works effectively as a scathing critique of the duplicity of the conservative mainstream. Ayouch does this by focusing on the adventures and tribulations of four women working as sex workers in Marrakesh, Morocco’s most popular tourist destination.

Where to watch: Netflix

Of Good Report (2013) – South Africa

A torrid affair between a high school teacher and a young woman spirals quickly into sexual obsession and blood thirsty violence in this impressive thriller from auteur Jahmil XT Qubeka. The black-and-white film is shot in a stylish, seductive manner that hints of the evil to come. Of Good Report’s considerable psychological heft connects with the traumas of its victims on the margins in post-apartheid South Africa. Seven years after its release, Of Good Report has lost none of its haunting power.

Where to watch: Showmax, Youtube, GooglePlay

Supa Modo (2018) – Kenya/Germany

Likarion Wainaina’s heartbreaking debut is a different kind of superhero film. One in which a Kenyan kid takes flight from the harsh realities of her existence by escaping into a fantasy world of her own creation. Supa Modo’s finest triumph lies in Wainaina’s careful balance of vivid imagery and escapism with the despair and finality of mortality such that the film is never too sweet nor too sour. Super Modorestores faith in the world by simply highlighting the role community can play in times of grief.

Where to watch: Showmax

Touki Bouki (1973) – Senegal

Panned upon release, Djibril Diop Mambéty’s first feature is now widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made. Touki Bouki (Wolof for “The Journey of the Hyena”) considers the tensions between Africa and Europe via the struggles of Mory and Anta, who dream of emigrating to Paris. It discards linear narrative in favour of poetry and fantasy as it tracks the couple’s journey from idealistic excitement to eventual disenchantment, mirroring in some way the fate of the continent.

Where to watch: The Criterion Channel

Trances (1981) – Morocco 

Directed by Ahmed El Maânouni, this documentary about influential Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane is a heady blend of concert footage, interviews and archival footage. Trances is at once a concert movie, poetic meditation and an audiovisual essay, documenting not just the influence of one of North Africa’s biggest musical acts but also the socio-political history of Morocco.

Where to watch: The Criterion Channel

 

TV

 

An African City (2014-2016) – Ghana

Hailed as the African answer to Sex and the City when it first arrived on YouTube in 2014, Nicole Amarteifio’s Afropolitan series eventually proved to be something separate if not entirely removed in spirit from the American show. Over two seasons and 23 episodes, An African City follows the shenanigans of five single women resettling in Accra, Ghana. It presents an updated narrative of what it means to be a young, African and female. The jury is still out on how far it succeeded but why not decide for yourself?

Where to watch: YouTube

Choufli Hal (2005-2009) – Tunisia

This enduring comedy, shot predominantly in Arabic, was first broadcast in 2005 on local stations and enjoyed a successful six-season run, including a standalone tele-film, over four years. The reason for its widespread acceptance is perhaps the relatability of its original set up. Choufli Hal takes advantage of the relationship between a psychotherapist and a psychic to comment on social issues. It may have wrapped its run on television but remains incredibly popular today.

Where to watch: Youtube

Mark Angel Comedy (2013-present) – Nigeria

Comedian Mark Angel has been able to parley his comic skits into an online behemoth. Featuring characters such as Emmanuella, Aunty Success and Chukwuemeka, his videos attract over millions of views and fans from as far flung locations as Australia and the Caribbean.

Where to watch: YouTube

Queen Sono (2020) – South Africa

Netflix’s first African original series is a bingeable epic ride along the corridors of power. Starring Pearl Thusi as a South African secret agent tackling criminal operations across the continent, Queen Sonodelivers bang for its buck. Blending big drama, contemporary themes, stylish action and fantastic production design, it may be South African in origin but it has its sights set on conquering the continent. It is set in South Africa, Nairobi and Zanzibar among other locations, accommodating several African languages.

Where to watch: Netflix

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Brexit: what will the EU’s next move be?

The latest political drama and developments surrounding Brexit in the UK have had a distinctly domestic focus....

Climate change: children are carving out a place in politics – now adults must listen and act

There’s no doubt that young people today are driving action on climate change. The #FridaysforFuture school strikes are arguably...

Yemen’s Houthis – and why they’re not simply a proxy of Iran

e The attacks on oil production facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in Saudi Arabia...

Recent Comments