Silver Screen Streak List #05:

Cinemascapist's "The Best African Movies, From All 54 African Countries"

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.


The First Two

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.

The first two movies on this list are:

  • SAMBIZANGA (1973), Angola; dir.: Sarah Maldoror

    Sambizanga (1973), 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.

  • DIVINE CARCASS (1988), Benin; dir.: Dominique Loreau

    Divine Carcass (1988), 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.


THE NEXT THREE

If those first two movies fare well enough on my Flickchart, I'll continue on through the following, as long as they entertain me.

  • N!AI, THE STORY OF A !KUNG WOMAN (1980), Botswana; dir.: Adrienne Miesmer, John Marshall

    N!ai, The Story of a !Kung Woman (1980), 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

    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.

  • GITO THE UNGRATEFUL (1993), Burundi ; dir.: Léonce Ngabo

    Gito the Ungrateful (1993), 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 Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

The Top 20 Movies of All-Time

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#2: The Godfather (1972)

#2: The Godfather (1972)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#3: West Side Story (1961)

#3: West Side Story (1961)

Dir: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
#4: Manhattan (1979)

#4: Manhattan (1979)

Dir: Woody Allen
#5: The Graduate (1967)

#5: The Graduate (1967)

Dir: Mike Nichols
#6: Tootsie (1982)

#6: Tootsie (1982)

Dir: Sydney Pollack
#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Dir: Irvin Kershner
#9: Star Wars (1977)

#9: Star Wars (1977)

Dir: George Lucas
#10: The Exorcist (1973)

#10: The Exorcist (1973)

Dir: William Friedkin
#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Dir: Peter Jackson
#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

Dir: Martin Scorsese
#13: Annie Hall (1977)

#13: Annie Hall (1977)

Dir: Woody Allen
#14: Vertigo (1958)

#14: Vertigo (1958)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Dir: Steven Spielberg
#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson
#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Dir: Tobe Hooper
#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

Dir: Frank Capra
#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Dir: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
#20: Zodiac (2007)

#20: Zodiac (2007)

Dir: David Fincher