In these days so beholden to Netflix, it takes something fairly spectacular to get us off our chuffs and along to the cinema. The African Film Festival (AFFNZ), with its genre-spanning program, might just command such an effort. Now in its fourth iteration, and featuring a bustling lineup of 20 films from throughout Africa, the festival showcases the continent's many cultures, languages, and geographies, contrasting moments of gritty realism, systemic racism, and other remnants of colonialism, with the ebullient and diverse lives of its people.
Highlights from the program look to be the claustrophobic Clash, taking place almost entirely within the confines of an eight-metre police truck; Welcome to Gondwana, which promises many a laugh as it lampoons Eurocentric idealism and paternalism; the revisionist adventure film Soleils; and for those looking for something more light-hearted, He Even Has Your Eyes offers a shrewd inversion of the stereotype of white people 'rescuing' a black baby through adoption.
Whereas so much of what we hear of Africa from the media is reductive, negative and infantilizing, the films curated by AAFNZ promise narratives of hope and resilience, neither sanitizing nor demonising their characters.
The African Film Festival runs from Thursday 5 April to Sunday 15 April at Rialto Newmarket. For more information such as screening times, tickets and the full lineup of films, visit the festival website, or check out its Facebook event page.