African Film Festival to highlight top films, shorts and animated features

The New York Times describes Alice Diop's award-winning film "Saint Omer" as an “intellectually charged, emotionally wrenching story about the inability of storytelling — literary, legal or cinematic — to do justice to the violence and strangeness of human experience.” (Courtesy photo)

The 17th annual African Film Festival invites St. Louisans to see Africa’s most acclaimed films on the big screen. This year’s showcase, to be held March 24-26, includes six films and a youth matinee. 

Highlights include: 

African Film Festival

When: March 24-26

Where: Brown Hall, Room 100

How much: Free

More info: African Film Festival

  • “Saint Omer,” France’s Academy Award submission for Best International Feature Film. Directed by Alice Diop, the drama follows a novelist who attends the trial of a woman accused of infanticide. (7 p.m. Friday, March 24) 
  • “Vuta N’Kuvute (Tug of War),” a coming-of-age political drama about love and resistance set in the final years of British colonial Zanzibar. Following the film, renowned filmmaker Ekwa Msangi (in person) will lead a Q&A with director Amil Shivji (via Skype). (7 p.m.Saturday, March 25)
  • “Xalé,” a thriller about a young girl whose life is forever changed after a devastating incident. The film is the third in a trilogy by legendary filmmaker Moussa Sene Absa. (7 p.m. Sunday, March 26)

The youth matinee features three animated films from South Africa — “Snail and the Whale,” “Troll Girl” and “My Better World.” The Saint Louis Art Museum will provide take-away activities. (3 p.m. Saturday, March 25) 

The festival takes place in Brown Hall on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis and is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. Free parking is available in the east end garage. 

ALso, in conjunction with the African Film Festival, the Kemper Art Museum will host a free screening of the 1966 documentary “The First World Festival of Negro Arts” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in Steinberg Hall Auditorium. A Q&A with Senegalese poet and Washington University alum Baba Badji will follow. The screening is part of the Kemper’s “African Modernism in America” exhibit. For more information, visit the Kemper Art Museum website

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