- Blue Eyes of Yonta
Flora Gomes (Guinea-Bissau, 1992), 90 min.
Yonta is a beautiful woman growing up in the city of Bissau a
generation after her nation has gained independence. She develops a
secret, unrequited crush on Vincente, a good friend of the family and
a hero in their country's struggle. Meanwhile, Yonta herself has a
secret admirer, a shy young man named Ze, who sends her love letters
copied from a Scandinavian book. It is from one such letter that the
film gets its title. This lovely, delicate work about youthful
illusions, both personal and national, powerfully demonstrates
director's Flora Gomes's marvelous talent for eliciting wonderfully
nuanced performances that show how alike we all are when it comes to
matters of the heart.
In Creole and Portuguese with English subtitles.
(Followed by discussion, led by Dr.Humberta Jackson-Lowman, Clinical
- Secuestro: A Story of a Kidnapping
Camilla Motta (Columbia/USA, 1993) 92 min.
In 1985, twenty-one-year-old Sylvia Motta was kidnapped on her way to
school. She was held in a small room for three months while her
father negotiated a price for her liberty. This story is a microcosm
of the Latin American social reality, where shortsighted exploitation
of resources and human beings has seriously undermined the fabric of
entire nations. In Columbia, a kidnapping occurs every seven hours.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
- Shida and Matatizo
Flora M'mbugu-Schelling (Tanzania, 1993) 57 min.
Ingeniously blending fact and fiction, Shida and Matatizo
is a moving plea against the exploitation of children in Tanzania.
Two young children, Shida and Matatizo, work a "double day" going to
school and then doing intensive manual labor to help support their
families. In search of a better life, they run away to the city.
There, Matatizo falls in with a group of homeless children living in
the streets and scrounging garbage, while Shida finds work as a
domestic servant, caring for an entire household and two infants until
tragedy strikes. In Swahili with English subtitles.
Featuring: Filmmaker Flora M'mbugu-Schelling in person
- A Certain Morning
Fanta Regina Nacros (Burkina Faso, 1992) 13 min.
- A Certain Morning is a provocative look at cinematic
illusions versus deadly realities. Tiga is a farmer who lives
peacefully with his wife and children on the Mossi plateau. When he
hears a woman calling for help one day, his entire world is called
into question. This is the first film by Fanta Nacro and the first
fiction film by a Burkinabi woman. In Mooré with English
- I, Worst of All
Maria Luisa Bemberg (Argentina, 1990) 100 min.
Drawn from the book The Traps of Faith by Novel
Prize-winner Octavio Paz, this is a superb portrayal of the
17th-century Mexican poet Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz, one of the
greatest poets of the Spanish language. After she enters the convent
in order to pursue an education, Sister Juana (played by Assumpta
Serna, the femme fatale of Almodovar's Matador) develops
an intimate relationship with a noblewoman (European icon Dominique
Sanda), who inspires her poetry. When the forces of the Inquisition
invade the convent, this ravishing duo have only each other to turn
Godwin Mawuru (Zimbabwe, 1992), 103 min.
Based on events in director Godwin Mawruru's own life,
Neria ruefully illustrates deliberate perversion of
traditional customs for the sake of money. Neria and her husband,
Patrick, have built a solid, comfortable life in the city. But when
Patrick is tragically killed, Neria finds herself caught in the
clutches of her husband's family. Invoking "tradition", her
brother-in-law first takes all of her money and possessions and then
tries to take her children -- leaving her with little more than her
clothes. Feeling helpless at first, Neria gathers the will to fight
back and finds that both law and tradition are on her side.
Neria is a fascinating portrait of a society in
transition as well as a powerful feminist statement. In
(Followed by discussion, led by Ms. Jumoke K. Ewedemi, Alafia-An
African Cultural Exchange.)
- Knocks at my Door
Alegandro Saderman (Venezuela, 1993) 105 min.
Set in a small Latin American border town in political turmoil, this
film personalizes the moral dilemma confronting many small democracies
in South and Central America. It focuses on two nuns who have been
caught hiding a politcal fugitive and must face a stark moral dilemma:
whether to wrongly claim that he forced himself on them or face a
firing squad for harboring a rebel soldier. In the film's tense
conclusion, politcal action and moral action merge in a moving act of
courage. In Spanish with English subtitles.
Sh'chur represents a journey of reconciliation with tradition. After
her father's death, Rachel, a television broadcaster, journeys to her
past in an immigrant town on the edge of the desert. She is in
distress, anxious and on the verge of a breakdown. Her Husband is far
away - their relationship appears strained - and she must deal with a
The audience will experience Rachel's tribulations as she comes
to terms with the painful memories of her immigrant family. She must
reconcile her deeply rooted culture, which was established on the
foothills of the Atlas Mountains, with the grave difficulties her
family encountered with assimilation in Israel.
- New Land
Orna Ben Dor-Niv
- Anna (8), a strangely quiet girl, arrives in Israel from
war-ravaged Europe with her brother Jan, her soiled Teddy bear and a
tattered photo of her lost mother. Anna refused many of the refugee's
offers of adoption, choosing instead to wait, observing the joys and
sorrows of others. Jan moves to a kibbutz where Anna is not accepted.
Distressed by Jan's desertion, she falls gravely ill. Upon meeting
her brother again, she accuses him of being just like their uncle, who
betrayed the family to the Nazis.
New Land is a bittersweet fantasy of finding a new
home to call one's own.
- Under the Domim Tree
- Under the Domim Tree is a coming-of-age story based
on the autobiographical book by Gila Almagor. Set in Israel circa
1950, the story takes place in a teenagers' youth village. The
village houses orphans who survived the Nazi concentration camps, and
other troubled Israeli youths. During the day the youths seem like
any other normal teenagers, but when night falls, painful memories of
the horrors of the Holocaust resurge. When life becomes unbearable,
the teens find refuge under the beautiful Domim Tree - the only place
where they feel at peace and find a trace of solitude. Several
stories intertwine to form the powerful tale of this unique group of