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Shades of Love: Romance in Contemporary African Cinema

This film series is organized in collaboration with the Menil Collection and its exhibition The Progress of Love, on view December 2, 2012–March 17, 2013. Guest film curator for the series is Mahen Bonetti, founder and director of the New York African Film Festival. “When thinking of Africa," she says, "the definition of love is vague or absent. The word love is always overshadowed by crisis—AIDS, drought, warfare. So when thinking of the continent of Africa, one does not think of the word love in relation to the emotions and tension that accompanies the concept. The films in this program cover passion, jealously, revenge, yearning, scheming, intimacy, courtship, gallantry, sexual encounters—with a definite African flavor.”

Generous support provided by Ms. Melanie Gray and Mr. Mark Wawro.

Community partner: Our Image Film and Arts Festival.

Past Films in This Series


Restless City

Directed by Andrew Dosunmu
In person: Director Andrew Dosunmu Andrew Dosunmu’s kinetic, gorgeously photographed debut feature tells the story of Djibril, an Africa immigrant surviving on the fringes of New York City, where music is his passion, life is a hustle, and falling in love is his greatest risk. Djibril’s life can only go upward; he wants to be a pop star and one day return to Africa where his mother and father toil for a meager living. By day he sells merchandise on ... more info

A Love During the War

Directed by Osvalde Lewat-Hallade
Introduced by guest curator Mahen Bonetti This documentary explores the consequences of using rape as a weapon of war from the perspective of women in Africa, where this tragedy is witnessed repeatedly. Journalist Aziza and her husband are rebuilding their lives. However, the horrors suffered by other women during the war still haunt Aziza. Shown with Awaiting for Men (En attendant les homes), (directed by Katy Léna N’diaye, Senegal/Mauritania/Belgium, 2007, 56 min., in Hassania with English subtitles). In a Mauritanian ... more info

Love Brewed in an African Pot

Directed by Kwaw Ansah
Love collides with social class and colonialism when Aba Appiah, born to privilege, falls in love with Joe Quansah, son of a fisherman. Her father, retired civil servant Kofi Appiah, has other plans for her, and seeks to block their marriage. The resulting conflict has complex and unexpected consequences. An interpretation of Romeo and Juliet set in colonial Ghana, Love Brewed in an African Pot depicts the tensions between tradition and modernity. Read an interview with the director here. more info

Faat Kiné

Directed by Ousmane Sembène
PLEASE NOTE THAT PARKING WILL BE LIMITED. PURCHASE TICKETS IN ADVANCE AND ARRIVE EARLY! This hilarious and incisive comedy by Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, the “father of African cinema,” is a critical observation and dissection of present-day Dakar, a post-colonial city dealing with modern contradictions in a transnational landscape where shifting gender relations, poverty and wealth, tradition and modernity are central problems. Faat Kine, a gas station operator born symbolically in the year of Senegalese independence (1960), has to confront ... more info



Directed by Djibril Diop Mambety
An adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's famous Swiss play, The Visit, Hyenas tells the story of Linguere Ramatou, an aging, wealthy woman who revisits her home village – and Mambéty's – of Colobane. Linguere offers a disturbing proposition to the people of Colobane and lavishes luxuries upon them to persuade them. This embittered woman, "as rich as the World Bank," will bestow upon Colobane a fortune in exchange for the murder of Dramaan Drameh, a local shopkeeper who abandoned her after ... more info

White Wedding

Directed by Jann Turner
The loyal, committed and very decent Elvis leaves Johannesburg to pick up his best friend and best man Tumi in Durban. The two then journey to Cape Town to begin rehearsals for Elvis's wedding to the beautiful Ayanda. But things don't always go according to plan. This high-spirited comedy takes place all over South Africa’s beautiful landscape from Johannesburg to Durban, from Eastern Cape to Western Cape. White Wedding is an appealing, feel-good movie about love, commitment, intimacy and friendship ... more info

Sex, Okra and Salted Butter

Sexe, Gombo et Beurre Salé

Directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
An extramarital affair leads to Hortense’s separation from her very traditional African husband, who is in for a ride as he learns about her love affair, his eldest son’s secret love life, and the responsibilities of single parenthood. Shown with Surrender Directed by Celine Gilbert (Tanzania/Zimbabwe, 2000, 30 min.) In the tranquil setting of a small fishing community on the east coast of Zanzibar, a fire is raging in the hearts of three young individuals—and the entire community feels the heat. ... more info