Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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Reading Advisory at the Ames Public Library
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Africa (South of the Sahara) Films at Ames Public Library

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A-H  |  I-Z

In My Country (DVD DRAMA IN)  103 min.  2005. 

Langston Whitfield is a Washington Post journalist who is in South Africa to cover the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings. Anna Malan is an Afrikaans poet covering the hearings for radio, shattered by the cruelty and depravity committed by her fellow countrymen.

Invictus (DVD DRAMA INV)  133 min.  2010. 

Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can unite his people through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship.

Kinyarwanda (DVD DRAMA KIN)  100 min.  2012. 

During the Rwandan genocide in 1994, when neighbors killed neighbors and friends betrayed friends, some crossed lines of hatred to protect each other. Mosques became places of refuge for Muslims and Christians, Hutus and Tutsis. Six different tales interweave to form one grand narrative that provides a complex and real depiction of human resilience.

Kongo (DVD DRAMA KON)  86 min.  1932. 

This nearly forgotten horror film is a remake of West of Zanzibar (1928). From a wheelchair, a handicapped white man rules part of Africa as a living god. He rules the natives through superstition and stage magic, and he rules the few white people through sadism, keeping them virtual prisoners. He lives to avenge himself on the man who stole his wife and crushed his spine.

The Last King of Scotland (DVD DRAMA LAS)  123 min.  2007. 

This award-winning film follows the rise and fall of Uganda’s dictator, Idi Amin. Amin’s reign of terror is viewed through the eyes of Nicholas Garrigan, a Scottish doctor who arrives in the early 1970s to be Amin’s personal physician. His perspective as an outsider causes him initially to be impressed by Amin’s calculated rise to power. Amin grows increasingly monstrous, and independent Uganda (a British colony until 1962) becomes a breeding ground for Amin’s genocidal tyranny. Amin is personally charming and seductive; and Garrigan grows increasingly prone to exploitation.

The Making of the Mahatma (DVD DRAMA MAK)  145 min.  2004. 

Barrister Gandhi faced a twenty-one year struggle (1893-1914) in South Africa, which made him the Mahatma.

Master Harold and the Boys (DVD DRAMA MAS)  83 min.  2011. 

In his mother's South Africa tea house, 17-year-old Hally, with Sam and Willie, two middle-aged black servants, share memories of their lifelong friendship. When Hally learns that his alcoholic father is returning from the hospital, he unleashes his resentment and rage on Sam and Willie – with devastating consequences.

Moolaadé (DVD FOREIGN MOO)  In Jula and French, with English captions.  124 min.  2004. 

Set in a small African village, four girls facing ritual "purification" seek refuge from Collé Ardo Gallo Sy, a strong-willed woman who has shielded her own teenage daughter from the mutilation. Collé invokes the time-honored custom of moolaadé (sanctuary) to protect them, and tension mounts as the ensuing stand-off pits Collé against village traditionalists. This endangers the prospective marriage of her daughter to the heir-apparent to the tribal throne.

Munyurangabo (DVD FOREIGN MUN)  In Kinyarwanda with English captions.  97 minutes.  2008. 

Two young men from separate tribes − one, an orphan of the Rwandan genocide looking for revenge, and the other just returning home to his family − travel from Kigali to the countryside.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Season 1 (DVD TV NO)  480 min.  2009. 

Mma Ramotste, a recently bereaved woman, sets up the only woman-run private detective agency in Botswana. She gets help from her secretary Mma Makutsi and Mr. JLB Matekoni, the owner and mechanic of Speedy Motors. Mma Ramotste takes on cases − from a woman who thinks the man who has turned up at her door is not her father, to another lady who has a boyfriend who may or may not be faithful to her.

Nowhere in Africa (DVD FOREIGN NOW)  In German, Swahili, and English, with English captions.  142 min.  2001. 

This award-winning true tale depicts a Jewish family in Germany who emigrates to Kenya in 1938, shortly before the Second World War, and learns to cope with their new life and each other on a remote farm.

Of Gods and Men (DVD FOREIGN OF)  In French or Arabic, with English or French captions.  123 min.  2010. 

In this film based on fact, eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers in a monastery in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s. When a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps though the region. The army offers them protection, but the monks refuse. Should they leave? Despite the growing danger, they are dedicated to their service here.

Out of Africa (DVD DRAMA OUT)  161 min.  1985.  

This film is based on the true story of Karen Blixen. In 20th century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate but doomed love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

The Power of One (DVD DRAMA POW)  127 min.  1992. 

Peekay, a South African boy, suffers bullying as the only English boy in an Afrikaans school. After being orphaned, he lives with his grandfather’s friend, a German called “Doc.” After WW II begins, Doc is imprisoned for failure to register as a foreigner. While visiting Doc in prison, Peekay meets Geel Piet, who teaches him to box and tells him the story of a mythical creature that brings peace to the African tribes. As he grows up, he takes on the system and the social injustices around him – finding that one person really can make a difference.

Prince among Slaves (306.362 DVD PRI)  60 min.  2008. 

In 1788, a slave ship sailed from Gambia with hundreds on board. Eight months later, a handful of survivors were sold in Natchez, Mississippi. One of them claimed to be a prince of an African kingdom larger and more developed than the newly formed United States. In this true story, an African prince endured the humiliation of slavery without losing his dignity or hope of freedom.

Sahara (DVD ACTION SAH)  98 min.  1943. 

A ragtag battalion is stranded in the great African desert after the fall of Tobruk during World War II.

Sand and Sorrow (962.7 DVD SAN)  94 min.  2007. 

This film details the historical events that have given rise to the Arab-dominated Darfur government's willingness to kill and displace its own indigenous African people, and it examines the international community's failure to respond.

Shaka Zulu (DVD TV SHA)  In English or French.  500 min.  1986. 

Shaka Zulu is the true story of tribal Africa during the turbulent 19th century. This acclaimed mini-series depicts Shaka, a Zulu leader, as he grows to fulfill a tribal prophecy, uniting his people into a new nation. Shaka is driven by his intelligence, courage, physical ability, and immortal stance, leading his people’s quest to be one people, one power, one empire.

Skin (DVD DRAMA SKI)  107 min.  2008. 

Despite being born to Afrikaner parents, Sandra faces prejudice from her community due to her dark skin and African features. Torn between her family and the man she loves, Sandra must overcome the racial intolerance of her society in this uplifting true story.

The Snows of Kilamanjaro (DVD DRAMA SNO)  117 min.  1952. 

A successful but disillusioned writer, near death from a hunting wound, reviews his amorous intrigues and his experiences as hunter and world traveler.

Son of Man (DVD DRAMA SON)  91 min.  2006. 

In English or Xhosa, with English captions. In Judea in southern Africa, violence, poverty, and sectarianism are endemic. The neighboring alliance has invaded under the pretense of restoring peace. As the civil war escalates, a divine child is born to a lowly couple. As he grows and witnesses the inhumanity of the world, he is offered an escape to the heavens. He refuses. He must try to save the world from evil men. This is a powerful retelling of the life of Christ set in contemporary South Africa.

Tears of the Sun (DVD ACTION TEA)  121 min.  2003. 

A Special-Ops commander leads his team into the jungle of Nigeria to rescue a doctor, but she will comply only if they agree to rescue 70 refugees, also.

Throw Down Your Heart (787.88 DVD THR)  In English and multiple languages from Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia, and Mali, with English captions.  97 min.  2008. 

Multiple Grammy-winner Béla Fleck travels to Uganda, Tanzania, the Gambia, and Mali searching for the roots of the banjo. Part road movie, part historical document, this film demonstrates the power of music and musicians to reach across cultural boundaries and language limitations. The infectious music transports viewers into the heart of Fleck's personal journey.

Tsotsi (DVD FOREIGN TSO)  In Tsotsi-Taal, with English or Spanish captions.  94 min.  2005. 

A young man running with a criminal gang in Johannesburg, Tsotsi - a nickname meaning thug - lives in a violent world that seems to leave him unaffected, until he discovers a baby in the backseat of a car he has stolen.

White Material (DVD FOREIGN WHI)  In French with English captions.  105 min.  2011. 

In a gripping evocation of the death throes of European colonialism and a fascinating look at a woman lost in her own mind, Maria is an entitled white woman living in Africa, desperately unwilling to give up her family's crumbling coffee plantation despite the impending civil war.

Wild at Heart (DVD TV WIL)  276 min.  2008. 

An English family moves to the South African bush to set up and run a game reserve and sort out the problems within the family itself. Danny Trevanion (a widower and vet) is living in England with his seventeen-year-old daughter Rosie, Sarah (his wife of six months) and Sarah's two young children from her previous marriage. Family tensions are running high, but when Danny brings home an illegally smuggled monkey whose life he saved, Sarah decides that the family should return the monkey to Africa. As they adjust to life in a very different land, the family faces elephant poachers and bush fires as they attempt to build a new and exciting life for themselves. Will they succeed?

Wildlife Photographers: Christine and Michel Denis-Huot (779 DVD WIL)  70 min.  2006. 

These wildlife photographers are renowned for their award-winning images of lions, elephants, rhinos, and giraffes. This documentary follows the couple across Kenya capturing animal behavior, from pink flamingos congregating along the shores of Lake Bogoria to the spectacular Great Migration that occurs every July as wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles travel from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara park reserve in search of food.

Wrong Side of the Bus (968.063 DVD WRO)  56 min.  2009. 

Sidney Bloch, an internationally recognized psychiatry professor from Australia, returns to Cape Town, South Africa, for his medical school reunion. Sid has endured a troubled conscience for forty years and wants to resolve his guilt for colluding with Apartheid. What will free him from his past? He's accompanied by his son Aaron, who is his harshest critic

Yeelen (DVD FOREIGN YEE)  In Bambara with English subtitles.  105 min.  2002. 

This is a film adaptation of a great oral epic of West African folklore and of the Bambara people. Set in the 13th century, in the powerful Mali Empire, young Nianankoro is destined to destroy a corrupt older society, the secret Komo cult, with it his father, and, finally, himself. The flash of light which ends the film ushers in a new, purified world order and captures the Bambara belief in time as circular – always returning to that initial brightness of creation.

Zulu (DVD ACTION ZUL)  139 min.  1964.  

Zulu is set in Africa in 1879 only hours after the battle of Isandhlwana. A small group of British soldiers stood their ground at a farm house against an onslaught of wave after wave of Zulus.