The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Monday, June 5, 2023

The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)

"The Gods Must Be Crazy" (1980, released in 1984 in the United States) is an adventure comedy film set in Southern Africa, primarily in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia. Jami Uys was responsible for writing, directing, and producing the movie.

This film is one of the most clever movies I have ever seen. Filmed like a National Geographic documentary, the movie follows Xi (played by N!xau), a Kalahari Desert bushman with no connection to modern-day society. In addition, the narrator paints a great picture of the people and their daily lives and the contrast of perspective lifestyles of people from the city. A pilot throws a Coke bottle from the airplane, and Xi discovers it. Unfamiliar with such an object, he returns it to his tribe, where they use it until it begins to cause trouble among the tribe's people. From here, Xi decides to get rid of the bottle by tossing it off the edge of the earth. What happens next is a series of paths and events that leads Xi, a school teacher, a microbiologist, and a terrorist group to connect.

This movie has many layers, so addressing some would only be possible. But, interestingly, you don't know how to take it when you first see it. And then the comedy subtly comes in small and clever dosages. There are some geopolitical aspects to this film that I am ignorant about, especially cultural characteristics. However, the film is still enjoyable and offers much more than a regular comedy. I highly recommend this movie for viewing.

Director: Jami Uys
Writer: Jami Uys

Starring N!xau, Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo, Louw Verwey, Michael Thys, Nic de Jager, Brian O'Shaughnessy, Ken Gampu, Paddy O'Byrne

The tribal people in a remote African desert live a happy life, but it is all torn to pieces when a Coca-Cola bottle falls from a plane. With the villagers fighting over the strange foreign object, tribal leader Xi (N!xau) decides to return the bottle to the gods to restore peace. However, his journey to the "end of the world" eventually has him crossing paths with a bumbling scientist (Marius Weyers) and a band of guerrillas who take a schoolteacher (Sandra Prinsloo) and her class hostage.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf (1982, TV Movie)

"For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf" (1982) was a Broadway play aired on PBS and originally premiered in 1976 as a theatre piece by the playwriter Ntozake Shange. The stageplay's style is a "choreopoem," a form of dramatic expression combining poetry, dance, music, and song. Shange tells the story of several black women's experiences in a world where they must deal with many adversities while understanding their inner selves. Each monologue is unique for the women's expressing their truths. Some topics include maternity, sexuality, abortion, abuse, trauma, love, relationships, and sisterhood.

The play stars an incredible cast of actresses, which include Ntozake Shange, Lynn Whitfield, Alfred Woodard, Carol Maillard, Crystal Lilly, Laurie Carlos, and Trazana Beverley. At the time, most of these actresses were primarily in theatre. Woodard was the only one of the few with previous experience in film and television.

Overall this film offers an emotional experience of tough topics are many black women experience worldwide. 

Director: Oz Scott
Writer: Ntozake Shange

Starring Ntozake Shange, Lynn Whitfield, Alfred Woodard, Carol Maillard, Crystal Lilly, Laurie Carlos, Trazana Beverley, Roger Hill, Sarita Allen, Gregory T. Daniel, Charles Weldon, Brent Jennings

This explosive, vivid "choreopoem" illuminates the story and struggle of black women in America. The seven women share their exuberance for life and their ability to begin again, no matter how ridiculous the odds.