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Silver Screen Streak List #05: Cinemascapist's The Best African Movies, From All 54 African Countries

Silver Screen Streak List #05: Cinemascapist's The Best African Movies, From All 54 African Countries

Written by dorrk
14 May 2020

The fifth list contributed to my Silver Screen Streak Movie Challenge, is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure how well it will play within this movie challenge's specific rules. Flickcharter Andy Nelson chose a list of, ostensibly, the single best movies from each of 54 different African countries. While this list surely contains some hidden treasures, it's also likely to be drawing from limited resources for countries with barely any film industry, and, understandably but more worrying, is ordered alphabetically rather than attempting to list them from Best to Worst. This could result in some not so accomplished or effective entries very early on, killing the potential of a streak.

I've only previously seen two movies from this list, THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, and last year's Kenyan love story RAFIKI; the other 52 are all on the table, theoretically. Since I don't know anything about any of them, however, I'll limit my comments below to the general state of movie-making for the first five countries and the reputations of the filmmakers.

Silver Screen Streak List #05: Cinemascapist's The Best African Movies, From All 54 African Countries

The List

I’ll watch the first two movies from each list, giving each participant the chance to avoid an instant exit and maybe even earn some free passes. If those first two movies fare well enough on my Flickchart, I'll continue on through the following, as long as they entertain me.


Angola; dir.: Sarah Maldoror
Of the 32 Angolan feature-length movies listed on Letterboxd, only 1/3 pre-date the year 2000, when digital technology opened up access to filmmaking equipment and resources. SAMBIZANGA is from the earlier, more sparse period of African cinema. Director Maldoror, a French woman, passed away last month at age 90.


Benin; dir.: Dominique Loreau
Wikipedia lists over 50 movies made in Benin over the last 70 years, with a sharp increase in output since the beginning of the digital age. Wikipedia's year of release for DIVINE CARCASSE differs by a decade from that noted here and on Letterboxd, so maybe the cataloging of Beninese films is somewhat lax.


Botswana; dir.: Adrienne Miesmer, John Marshall
Botswana's history of film production dates back to the early silent era, under the direction of European colonists and scientists. Letterboxd, however, only lists 17 feature films, starting with this award-winning 1980 documentary. Marshall is considered a pioneer of cinema verite and worked with Frederick Wiseman on the infamous TITICUT FOLLIES. There is no information to be found on co-director Miesmer.

YAABA (1989)

Burkina Faso; dir.: Idrissa Ouedraogo
The Burkinabe film industry may have only started in earnest during the 1970s, as it became the HQ for a Pan-African film festival, but Wikipedia assigns it 45 productions between then and 2009.... and then stops. Letterboxd lists a more comprehensive 71 going back to the 1950s, with at least half coming from the past two decades.


Burundi ; dir.: Léonce Ngabo
GITO, L'INGRAT is cited as the first-ever feature film from Burundi. Letterboxd lists only five feature films total from Burundi and Wikipedia doesn't have an entry for this country's film output.

Follow my streak through Andy Nelson's list of Cinemascapist's The Best African Movies, From All 54 African Countries here, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.