Despite the fact that many extremely high quality films of this type exist, very few films made in Africa by African directors are distributed in the United States. The few films that are available here are usually only available on VHS. Very few of them can be found on DVD. Blockbuster Video does not sell, or rent, any of them. Screenings of these films in theaters are rare. One of the few ways to see a lot of them is to take a Cultural Anthropology class. Roger Ebert showed the movie Hyenas at his Overlooked Film Festival in 2002.
Some Good African Films that are available on VHS
Some Extremely Good But Hard to Find Films
- Touki Bouki - Djibril Diop Mambety
- Quartier Mozart - Jean-Pierre Bekolo
- Wend Kuni - Gaston Kabore
- Hyenas - Djibril Diop Mambety
- La Vie Est Belle - Benoît Lamy, Mweze Ngangura
- La Noire De - Ousmane Sembene
- Guelwaar - Ousmane Sembene
- Xala - Ousmane Sembene
- Finzan - Cheick Oumar Sissoko
- Ta Dona - Adama Drabo
- Zan Boko - Gaston Kabore
Just as there are clichés in American films, many can be found in African films as well.
- Political corruption
- Social commentary
- Young heroes
- Old men that want to sleep with a young girl that is the love interest of the protagonist.
- Bossy,overweight housewives with skinny husbands
- Vivid displays of African landscapes and culture
During the 1960s, the first generation of African film-makers were trained. Lots of funding for films made in West Africa was provided by a branch of the French government that handled its colonies. Ousmane Sembene, the director of such films as La Noire De, Xala, and Guelwaar was one of the pioneers of African Film. His films are highly political. Many African film-makers were trained in France and then returned to their home countries to make films.
On odd numbered years, FESPACO meets in the small West African country Burkina Faso.
Problems with Distribution
It is hard to get African films in the United States because there is no major distributor. The main reason that such films can not find a distributor is probably the fact that major disribution companies are convinced that there is not a large enough market for them. Also, it may be hard to track down the original reels in order to produce DVDs.