French/2015/82mins/French with English subtitles/PG
12 year-old Adama lives in a remote village in West Africa, sheltered by the Cliffs. Out, beyond, lies “the land of breaths”, the kingdom of wicked spirits hungry for war. When Samba, his elder brother, suddenly vanishes from the village, Adama decides to set off in search of him. Accompanied first by Abdou, a tragically lucid griot, then by Maximin, a street urchin who is his own negative twin, he crosses a Europe in the grip of war. We’re in 1914. Borne by the energy of desperation and the poetry of childhood, Adama travels to the hell of the frontline in order to free his brother. Ultimately, Adama’s love for his brother will open an unexpected way to his initiatory journey.
“An easy-to-follow and absorbing adventure story accessible to children, and an allegorical subtext that would “trigger reflections in the minds of adult spectators,” – Cartoon Brew/Variety
Pontio: 28th October from 1100 Book Tickets!
Ethiopia/2014/99mins/Amharic with English subtitles/12
From executive producer Angelina Jolie Pitt comes the award-winning drama DIFRET, based on the inspirational true story of a young Ethiopian girl and a tenacious lawyer embroiled in a life-or-death clash between cultural traditions and their country’s advancement of equal rights. When 14-year-old Hirut is abducted in her rural village’s tradition of kidnapping women for marriage, she fights back, accidentally killing her captor and intended husband. Local law demands a death sentence for Hirut, but Meaza, a tough and passionate lawyer from a women’s legal aide practice, steps in to fight for her. With both Hirut’s life and the future of the practice at stake the two women must make their case for self-defense against one of Ethiopia’s oldest and most deeply-rooted traditions. DIFRET paints a portrait of a country in a time of great transformation and the brave individuals ready to help shape it.
“Difret focuses on the impasse between modernity and tradition, between cosmopolitan and provincial lifestyles” – Washington Post
Taliesin Ars Centre: 23rd October from 19.30 Book Tickets!
The Magic Lantern Cinema: 11th November from 1900 Book Tickets!
3. COLOURS OF THE ALPHABET + Q&A
Zambia/2016/80mins/English, Nyanja and Bemba with English subtitles/PG
Colours of the Alphabet tells the story of three Zambian children and their families over two school terms, and asks the question: does the future have to be in English?
A lyrical, beautifully-filmed documentary which spends 9 months in a Zambian village grade one class – from the rains of January till the cold of August – as the children, and their parents, come to terms with the often bemusing reality of education in their country. A country where there are 72 ethnic languages spoken, however, you are told that to get ahead means understanding the world in the country’s only official language – English. Despite less than 2% of Zambians using the language in their daily lives.
An often humorous, yet inspiring, bittersweet documentary about childhood innocence, language and national identity, with multi-coloured subtitles reflecting the different languages being spoken.
Aberystwyth Arts Centre: 2nd November from 1800 Book Tickets!
4. I AM NOT A WITCH + Q&A with Rungani Nyoni
Zambia/UK/France/2017/90 mins/ English
Following a banal incident in her local village, 8-year old girl Shula is accused of witchcraft. After a short trial she is found guilty, taken into state custody and exiled to a witch camp in the middle of a desert. At the camp she takes part in an initiation ceremony where she is shown the rules surrounding her new life as a witch. Like the other residents, Shula is tied to a ribbon which is attached to a coil that perches in a large tree. She is told that should she ever cut the ribbon, she’ll be cursed and transformed into a goat.
“Nyoni’s bold fusion of folklore, social comment, magical realism and her own family heritage could even translate into breakout word-of-mouth success akin to the tonally similar Beasts of the Southern Wild” The Hollywood Reporter
Pontio Arts Centre: 27th October from 2015 Book Tickets!
5. KALUSHI + Q&A
South Africa/2016/Drama film/Thriller/100 mins/English
Kalushi is a true story about Solomon Mahlangu, a 19-year-old hawker from the streets of Mamelodi, a ghetto township outside Pretoria, South Africa. After being brutally beaten by police during the 1976 Soweto uprisings, he goes into exile and joins the liberation movement; a series of violent events lead Mahlangu on a journey that culminates in his being forced to stand trial for his life, using the courtroom as his final battlefield. A hero of the struggle against apartheid, Mahlangu would become an international icon of South Africa’s liberation.
Pontio Arts Centre: 30th October from 2015 Book Tickets!
6. NAWARA + Q&A (UK PREMIER)
Nawara, a woman in her 20s, works as a housemaid in the home of Ossama Bey and his family, who are closely linked to the Mubarak regime. As the revolution unfolds, they decide to leave the country temporarily. They give Nawara some money and ask her to look after the house while they are away. Nawara calls her fiancé Mustafa and tells him to find a house, now that she can afford it. She takes to living in her employers’ villas as though she were the owner. At Mustafa’s insistence, Nawara lets him spend the night with her at the villa, and the pair discover what it’s like to live like the rich. Because of a travel ban and property seizure order that has been issued against Ossama Bey, however, the police arrive at the villa and take Nawara’s money because she can’t prove it belongs to her. She and Mustafa are left with nothing.
“Hala Khalil … one of the bright new voices in Egyptian cinema, brings her light touch with social drama and keen feeling for women’s problems to Nawara.” Hollywood Reporter
Pontio Arts Centre: 28th October from 2015 Book Tickets!
Aberystwyth Arts Centre: 1st November from 2015 Book Tickets!
Chapter Arts Centre: 12th November 1400 Book Tickets!
7. SHORES + Q&A with Irene Dioniso
Dir: Irene Dioniso
A documentary which tells two stories of compassion and civic virtue on two opposite shores of the Mediterranean, through the correspondence between Mohsen Lihidheb, a postman and intellectual in Zarzis, Tunisia, and Vicenzo Lombardo, a retired cemetery worker in Lampedusa, Italy. While searching on the beach for materials for his Museum of the Memory of the Sea – a true monument to the victims of migration – Mohsen finds a body which he decides to bury with dignity, without thinking twice about it. Vincenzo in Lampedusa shares this same sense of urgency, tending the tombs of the unknown people who he buried in the local cemetery years before. In the wake of the Arab Spring, as sea tragedies grow significantly, Irene Dionisio speaks of a potential dialogue, of deep humanity that contrasts with the obscene of current history. The screenplay won the 2012 Solinas Documentary Prize for Cinema and the SCAM Brouillon d’un rêve filmique bursary. Shores premiered at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence in 2015 where it won the Audience Award.
Chapter Arts Centre: 12th November from 1800 Book Tickets!
8. LIYANA + Animation Workshop (*)
A Swazi girl embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. This animated African tale is born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in Swaziland who collaborate to tell a story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character’s journey is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling.
“The beautifully crafted film… is a spirited testament to the power of creativity — not only as a source of strength and joy, but as a way to access buried emotions. The kids conjure a world of danger and enchantment.” Hollywood Reporter
Taliesin Arts Centre: 23rd October from 1700 Book Tickets!
The Magic Lantern: 11th November from 1400 Book Tickets! *
Chapter Arts Centre: 12th November 1200 Book Tickets! *
9. FELICITE + Q&A with Vero, Lead Actress
France | Belgium | Senegal | Germany | Lebanon/2017/ 123 mins/Lingala/French
Félicité is a proud and independent woman who works as a singer in a bar in Kinshasa. Whenever she goes on stage, she appears to leave the world and her everyday worries behind. Her audiences are quickly infected by the rhythm of her music and her powerful, melancholy melodies. But then one day Félicité’s son has a terrible accident. Whilst he is in hospital she desperately tries to raise the money needed for his operation. A breathless tour through the impoverished streets and the wealthier districts of the Congolese capital ensues. One of the bar’s regulars is a man named Tabu who has been known to get carried away in every sense of the term. Tabu offers to help Félicité. Reluctantly, she accepts. After his spell in hospital, Félicité’s son has a hard time picking up his old life, but it is lady’s man Tabu of all people who manages to coax him out of his shell. Félicité’s sparsely furnished flat with its permanently defunct fridge becomes a mini utopia in a country that holds no hope for most of its population. The trio forms an eccentric community thrown together by fate, each of whom is free to go their separate ways together.
“Evolves into something far more sensually complex than it initially seems….the film’s jangling, diverse musical soundtrack practically functions as a screenplay in itself… unruly, occasionally rapturous film” Hollywood Reporter
Magic Lantern, Tywyn: 11th November 16.30 Book Tickets!
Chapter Arts Centre: 12th November from 1945 Book Tickets!