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Lending Library » Feature Films

An African Dream
HBO Video, VHS, 1990, 94 minutes

A young teacher, Katherine Armstrong, joins her fiance’ in Cradock, South Africa, and ventures into the unspoiled beauty of the African bush. But the perfection of her new-found love for husband and country is soon displaced by the pity and anger she feels at the abuse of the African people by her fellow countrymen. Katherine befriends an educated African, who teaches at a small school on a local reserve. Rumors of their romantic relationship create tensions in the community as racial hatreds, long lain dormant, threaten to erupt in violence.

Anansi (animated)
Rabbit Ears, VHS, 1991, 30 minutes

Denzel Washington narrates two hilarious stories about Anansi the spider who wins possession of all the stories in the jungle by outsmarting the prideful snake. With Reggae music from UB40.

Black and White in Color (French with English subtitles)
Lorimar Home Video, VHS, 1977, 88 minutes

This film pokes fun at the spectacle of inept Europeans trying to conduct WWI in Africa. The idyllic life in a French-African settlement is rudely interrupted in 1915 by news of war in Europe. The settlement's sergeant tries to assemble a rag-tag army of African soldiers to capture a neighboring German settlement. The attempt results in failure, whereupon the sergeant turns to the settlement's government geographer, who hatches a most improbable strategy to vanquish the Germans.

Breaker Morant
Columbia Pictures, VHS, 1981, 103 minutes

The dramatic story of one of history's most controversial military court-martials. The setting is 1901, during the Boer War in South Africa. British officer Harry Morant and two other lieutenants are put on trial for the execution of Boer prisoners and the mysterious death of a missionary. Although they are brilliantly defended, the case has been stacked against them. At the height of the trial, the three men successfully lead the defense against a savage Boer attack on the prison. Yet the court is unwilling to be lenient, pronouncing a startling sentence.

Cry Freedom
MCA Home Video, VHS, 1988, 157 minutes

The story of black activist Stephen Biko and the liberal white newspaper editor who risks his own life to bring Biko's message to the world. After learning of apartheid's true horrors through Biko's eyes, editor Donald Woods discovers that his friend has been silenced by the police. Woods then undertakes a perilous quest to escape South Africa and bring Biko's remarkable tale of courage to the world.

Cry, The Beloved Country
United Artists, VHS, 1951, 100 minutes

The compelling story of two fathers, one black, one white, who live on opposite sides of apartheid. They are drawn together through one father's search for his lost son. Through an act of violence that changes many lives forever, they come to understand one another and realize that Black and White are not really so different after all.

Fintar O Destino
California Newsreel, VHS, 76 minutes

The story of an aging sport hero who holds onto his past so strongly he destroys his pre-sent. At the same time, this film explores a much broader tension, personal and political, between remaining true to one's dreams or making the best of the limited opportunities around us. In Fintar o Destino, this di-lemma is posed in terms of an entire nation: whether Cape Verdeans should accept life on these isolated is-lands or should pursue their often unrealistic ambitions overseas.

Family Motel
ArtMatten Production, DVD, 2007, 88 minutes

Raising teenaged daughters is not easy, especially for a Somalian refugee living in Canada who also supports a husband and two sons left behind in Somalia. Living in her small Vancouver apartment with her daughters is evicted from her apartment for late payment. Because Ayan is unable to afford the soaring rents on her two service jobs, and the Canadian social services are unable to assist in placing her, she and her two daughters must move into a Family Motel. Further drama ensues when her daughters develop close relationships with the neighbors, who present characteristics quite different from what Ayan, a devout Muslim, is accustomed to.

Gorillas in the Mist
MCA Home Video, VHS,1989, 129 minutes

Based on the true story of Dian Fossey, who travels to Central Africa to study the rare mountain gorillas. In this incredible paradise, her interest in the gorillas turns to passion and finally obsession. Nothing can stop her from risking her life to protect the gorillas from poachers and animal traders. Desperate to save her "family" from extinction, Fossey searches for justice but in the end settles for revenge.

Heat of the Sun
Mobil Masterpiece Theater, VHS, 1999, 360 minutes

Set in the 1930s, a former Scotland Yard detective is sent to colonial Kenya to head the new criminal investigation unit.

How the Leopard Got His Spots
Rabbit Ears Storybook Classics, VHS, 1989,30 minutes

In the colors of High Veldt, hunting was easy for the Leopard, because of all the animals, his fur was the yellowish grayish brownest. When the other animals moved away, the hungy Leopard was forced to follow them down into the striped, splotchy, spotted forest. But, with his bright skin, the Leopard didn’ts stand a chance ot hunt—unless, of course, H acquired spots himself.

Kirikou and the Sorceress
ArtMattan Productions, DVD, 1998, 70 minutes

Animated blend of African folktalkes that tells the story of a young child attempting to rid a village of a curse.

The Kitchen Toto
Cannon Films, VHS, 1987, 96 minutes

Mwangi, an African boy living in colonial Kenya in 1950, is caught between opposing sides of a war of independence. On one side is the British policeman, who has taken him on as a "kitchen toto," a house servant. On the other side are the militant Mau Mau, who earlier killed Mwangi's pacifist father and now demand that the boy take a blood oath to kill the family he serves or die. Mwangi's horrifying dilemma is history made personal, as we witness the plight of thousands trapped in the crossfire of a brutal struggle that would eventually claim 14,000 lives.

Koi and the Koala Nuts
Rabbit Ears, VHS, 30 minutes

Whoopi Goldberg humorously retells this bright African folktale about the proud son of a chief who sets out to find his rightful place in the world. Herbie Hancock provides the score

La Vie Est Belle – Life is Rosy (French with English subtitles)
California Newsreel, VHS, 1987, 85 minutes

The vibrant music scene of Kinshasha. Stars Papa Wemba. A rags to riches story of a poor rural musician who realizes that to succeed in today’s music world he must go to the city and break into radio and TV. In its infectious spirit and its affirmation of life in the face of seemingly overwhelming obstacles, it captures an essential part of contemporary African reality.

Mandela
HBO Video, VHS,1987, 135 minutes

The story of South Africa's courageous human rights activist. Mandela's life is traced from his rise in the African National Congress to his unjust trial for treason and long imprisonment. Also examines Mandela's philosophical shift from passive resistance to armed struggle and his relationship with his wife, Winnie.

Master Harold . . . and the Boys
Karl-Lorimar Home Video, VHS, 1986, 90 minutes

Adaptation of Broadway play that explores the relationship between a teenage boy and two black servants in 1950s apartheid South Africa.

Mister Johnson
Avenue Pictures, VHS,1990, 105 minutes

A remarkable story about the men of the British empire and their clash with the citizens of an African village. A delightful, funny, and sometimes poignant look at the struggle between a small community and external forces of 'progress'.

Mountains of the Moon
International Video Entertainment, 1989, 140 minutes

In the 1850s two British officers, Captain Richard Burton and Lieutenant John Speke, set out to discover the source of the Nile. Against all odds, they push deeper into the African frontier, where no western man had ever gone. As they endure the journey 's hardships, Burton and Speke forge a strong bond which one will eventually betray. (1989).

Nothing But The Truth
ArtMattan Productions, DVD, 2008, 118 minutes

A gripping investigation into the complex dynamic between those blacks who remained in South Africa and risked their lives to lead the struggle against apartheid and those who returned victoriously after living in exile. Winner Silver Stallion – FESPACO 2009

Place of Weeping
New World Video, VHS, 1986, 88 minutes

A powerful human drama of one woman’s personal fight for freedom. Her bravery, her traumas and battles against undignified abuse. Her heroic and lonely fight. Heart-warming & inspiring.

Sango Malo: The Village Teacher (French with English subtitles)
California Newsreel, VHS, 1991 94 minutes

It is a tale of 2 schoolteachers with 2 philosophies of education. One with a strict conventional French-style curriculum which doesn’t challenge the village power structure. The other, an dinnovative young teacher who introduces a more practical education designed to make the peasants the focus of rural development.

The Sheltering Sky
Warner Bros., VHS, 1990, 139 minutes

A tale of a traveler and a tourist in the Sahara. Powerful performances by Debra Winger and John Malkovich. This film explores adventure and passion.

Tableau Ferraille (French & Wolof with English subtitles)
California Newsreel, VHS, 1997, 85 minutes

A story of politics, illustrating a nuanced, ntimage view of how modernization, at least as practiced in today’s Africa, corrodes traditional communities and withers grassroots development. These two paradigms for development are exemplified by his two wives.

A Walk in the Night
California Newsreel, VHS, 1998, 78 minutes

A Walk in the Night is one of the first films from a new generation of talented young black South African filmmakers who have become active since the overthrow of apartheid in 1994. Mickey Madoda Dube's debut feature adapts Alex La Guma's celebrated 1962 novella of the same name into a fast-paced crime thriller set in present day Johannesburg. The fact that this story could be so convincingly updated to the present indicates how little racial power dynamics in South Africa have changed. The fact that this program was produced and broadcast by the government owned South African Broadcasting Corporation shows how much they have.

White Mischief
Columbia Pictures, VHS, 1988, 108 minutes

Set in Kenya in 1940, a story of the wealthy British colonists. A chilling view into the concerns and dramas of colonists.

Zulu
Charter Entertainment, VHS, 1963, 138 minutes

War film depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War.