The Afriquan Movie Club: An Exploration of African Cinema

Change is the law of life… but did it have to be this swift and drastic? In short of two weeks the entertainment industry has been eviscerated more than Thanos’ wildest dreams in the wake of COVID-19. Festivals, Leagues, Awards, My Hopes and Dreams, Cinemas, Productions all postponed, closed down or cancelled in an effort to curb the spread of this insidious virus. 8 days into self-imposed social distancing and I have been all but consumed with the unrelenting mania surrounding this virus; the panic, the chaos, the memes, so many memes. All this wallowing has lead me on a journey to find something positive to do in this wake, and in that I present to you my latest venture; The Afriquan Movie Club: Exploring African Cinema.

Chimp Apparel (1)

Hear me out, a watch party where we stream two African Films a week; alone but together, in the interest of quaranstreaming. Streaming platforms like Netflix and Showmax are now holding a substantial catalogue of African-made films; from festival giants like Sew The Winter To My Skin and Atlantiques to fan-favorites Happiness is A Four Letter Word, Nairobi Half Life and dozens more hidden gems. The African cinematic landscape has grown ferociously in depth and scope over the last decade, and besides film festivals, there aren’t enough spaces to engage with them, so let’s add one more. An online movie club, our own digi-fest if you will, where we collectively live-stream and engage with the growing catalogue of films currently at our disposal. If this is something that interests you, follow @afriquanfilm and @yazzthestudent on Twitter and Instagram for more details and developments. So, whether it’s 5 or 500 of us, let’s appreciate the cinema our great continent has to offer. However if clubs aren’t your thing, below are some recommendations for some interesting African films available online and where you can stream them.

Sew The Winter To My Skin [Available on Showmax until 30th March 2020]

Country: South Africa

Genre: Period/Western

Premise: A relentless and provocative retelling of the life and legend of John Kepe, a Robin Hood-esque bandit who achieved folk hero status among black South Africans by robbing and outwitting colonizers in the 1950s.

Nairobi Half-Life [Available on Showmax]

Country: Kenya

Genre: Action/Drama

Premise: A young, aspiring actor from upcountry Kenya dreams of becoming a success in the big city. In pursuit of this and to the chagrin of his brother and parents, he makes his way to Nairobi:the city of opportunity.

Atlantiques [Available on Netflix]

Country: Senegal

Genre: Drama/Supernatural

Premise: In a popular suburb of Dakar, workers on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without pay for months, decide to leave the country by the ocean for a better future. Among them is Souleiman, the lover of Ada, promised to another.

Matwetwe [Available on Showmax]

Country: South Africa

Genre: Coming of Age/Comedy

Premise: It’s New Year’s Eve in Atteridgeville and Lefa’s life is on the cusp of major change. Accepted into university to study botany, Lefa’s on-track for greater heights but is lead on a frenetic journey to raise the funds for him to go.

Happiness is a Four Letter Word [Available on Showmax until March 31 2020]

Country: South Africa

Genre: Romance/Comedy

Premise: Happiness is a Four-Letter Word is a heart-warming romantic drama exploring the lives of three best friends – Nandi, Zaza and Princess – living the good life in fast paced Johannesburg.

 

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