35. Africa Festival – ARTE Film programmE

Bissau, An idol returns (Thursday, 30.05., 8:30 PM)

Photo: ARTE F / © Oléo Films

The life of Malan Mané, celebrated singer of the legendary band “Super Mama Djombo” from Guinea-Bissau, is turned upside down from one day to the next: After 30 years in exile in France, he is allowed to return to his home country in 2019 and perform in front of 100,000 people in a sold-out stadium. But how does he find his place again in a country that has changed dramatically in the years of his absence? The moving story of a late redemption.

Documentary film by Philippe Béziat, ARTE 2020, 53 min.

Premiere: Cuba’s female boxers (Thursday, 30.05., 9:30 PM)

Photo: ARTE / © Medienkontor / Joanna Michna

Men who box have been Cuba’s medallists at international tournaments for decades. Women, on the other hand, were not allowed to enter the ring in competitions for over 60 years. The Cuban government only lifted the ban at the end of 2022. Now a spirit of optimism is spreading throughout the country. The film accompanies Namibia Flores, Cuba’s first professional female boxer, on her mission: her boxing school is to be a place of refuge for Cuban women and girls. 

Documentary film by Cordula Stadter and Joanna Michna, ARTE/Medienkontor 2024, 52 min. Afterwords discussion

Amas world, the new Ghana (Friday, 31.05., 8:30 PM)

Photo: ARTE / © Medienkontor / Vivien Vogel

In the West African country of Ghana, a new generation of women is emancipating itself. Self-confident and full of ideas, they are defying their parents, who still see the Western model of life as the ideal. The film accompanies Ama Boamah in her turbulent everyday life. After studying photography abroad, she has returned home full of ideas. She has founded the country’s first organic juice factory in the vibrant capital Accra. The mother of three is a pioneer who is realising the still new concept of organic food in Ghana against all odds. 

Documentary film by Carmen Butta, ARTE/Medienkontor 2016, 52 min. 

Cuba – Master of the barrel organ (Friday, 31.05., 9:30 PM)

Photo: ARTE / © Medienkontor/Stefan Richts

Cuba is world-famous for its music. In this country, however, one of Cuba’s most important traditional music styles is hardly known: the so-called “Música molida” – ground music. Produced by monumental street organs/barrel organs in combination with an accompanying band, the music enjoys great popularity among the locals. The film takes us to remote villages in the south-east of the island, far off the beaten tourist track. The organ players travel across the country with instruments weighing up to 1.5 tons to celebrate Cuba’s vibrant musical culture. 

Documentary film by Stefan Richts, ARTE/Medienkontor 2017, 52 min. 

Cuban Dances (Saturday, 01.06., 8:30 PM)

Photo: ZDF / © Jochen Beckmann

Sarah Willis is a horn player with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Her aim is to encounter the living roots of Cuban music even more intensively. After the brilliant project “Mozart y Mambo”, she returns to Cuba with a new endeavour. Together with young Cuban composers, she has composed the “Cuban Dance Suite” in six movements. It is also the roadmap for the film. Sarah Willis and her fellow composers travel from Guantánamo to Santiago de Cuba and perform the “Cuban Dances” in the places of their musical roots. 

Documentary film by Magdalena Zieba-Schwind, ARTE/ZDF 2022, 43 min. 

Ballaké Sissoko, Kora Tales (Saturday, 01.06., 9:30 PM)

Photo: ARTE F / © Oléo Films

The kora is one of the most traditional and virtuoso instruments in Africa. It is deeply rooted in the culture and playing the instrument is often reserved for those whose families have been doing so for generations. The film follows the award-winning musician Ballaké Sissoko from Mali. The kora virtuoso takes us on a journey in search of the origins and development of the 21-string harp. A film about legends, tradition, innovation and the history of West Africa. 

Documentary film by Laurent Benhamou and Lucy Durán, Oléo Films/Mad Minute Music 2023, 52 min. 

Senegal: From Paris back to Dakar (Sunday, 02.06., 8:30 PM)

Photo: ARTE / ©Kino Presse/Kino/ARTE

In the last ten years, Senegal has experienced strong economic growth. Many young French-Senegalese entrepreneurs see new opportunities in their parents’ homeland and return. The film introduces some of them: Ibrahima Sylla, a former taxi driver from Paris founded “Salam Transport”, the most successful transport company in Senegal. Coumba Sow, manager of a French bank, took a year off and now supports returnees from France with the Pari Sénégal agency. 

Documentary film by Jean-Yves Cauchard, ARTE 2022, 24 min. 

City Country Art: Special Ivory Coast (Sunday, 02.06., 9 PM)

Photo: ARTE F / © Elephant Doc

To escape the constant pressure in New York, the African-American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat travelled to the Ivory Coast and encountered an immensely rich cultural scene. There he explored the African identity that he claimed for his art in the USA. The film follows in the footsteps of the “enfant terrible” of the avant-garde scene. A journey of discovery through the West African country, its art and culture. 

Documentary film by Fabrice Michelin, ARTE 2022, 38 min.