Saw three films today, the first one from the USA. It was a shoot ‘em up, crack dealers, wannabe hoochies. I’ve seen it a million times, every other word is the ‘N’ word. Boring! Afterwards an African American woman is going off to reporters about these images. One reporter says it’s good for people to see that, "it’s not true that all Americans are rich." The woman counters that the gangster images are also wrong and that all Americans don’t have guns and kill people.
Thinking about the gangster image, it’s always been around since film began. So what’s the difference in the Black urban gangster images and say, uhm, Scorcese (my personal favorite American director) or Coppola films? Could it be that these films aren't just about glorifying the violence of the gang (notice I didn’t say Tarantino) but are about family values, creating & defining family units, friendship and growth. Characters evolve. Maybe the problem with these urban bang bangs is script and structure…
We leave the woman in the theatre yelling at reporters but not before we invite her to the DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis (aka D2O) screening for a different Black American image.
Next stop FESPACO offices to try to pick up those legendary ‘meal tickets.’ On our way out we run into French actor/comedian Emil Abossola-Mbo. I love this guy, we hung out in Paris a few years ago. He’s such a good actor, that I'd told our mutual friend that I didn’t want to meet him cause he was so menacing in the film ‘Ezra.’ He turned out to be one of the nicest people you could meet and very funny. Emil is one of the judges in the documentary category. No that’s not our category, we are Diaspora. Emil tells me that my ‘boyfriend’ director Newton Aduaka is here. (be still my heart) My crush is a running joke between us. Newton is the director of the 2007 Fespaco and Cannes Film Festival hit film, ‘Ezra.’ Talent and brilliance is certainly a sexy combination and Newton has plenty of both. Yum. Emil promises to come see D2O.
At the Fespaco offices, of course, no meal tickets again. Come back when the Guy is here. This was my third attempt, I give up. TIA. In the rotunda of the offices is an artist, Yewo who has work hanging and is creating some more smaller pieces. He is a Rasta and, as everyone does, he loves Michael Foster. The Jamaican thing is brilliant among Africans worldwide. He’s doing stuff with paper, and I tell him about Raymond (Thomas) and show him some of Raymond’s work (love the iPhone). I buy a small piece for Raymond and he sends him a shout out.
We are on our way to another theatre when one of the workers, Irenee, from the office, catches up with us and tells us the guy is there. Of course this is the GUY that does not like me and he’s telling everybody about me. Mais je suis American. They don’t like problems here and asking questions like ‘what flight am I on?’or ‘where am I staying?’ is a problem! I just laugh at him and force him to take a picture with me. He doesn’t want to, but he does. Who cares. I have MEAL TICKETS!
Next film is a complicated South African drama about illegal immigration, not from Mexico, but from Zimbabwe! And they have the same ignorant Arizona type reaction;-O Who knew. It’s a bit long for me and I fight sleep, loosing this fight several times. Hey, what’s John Savage doing in South Africa? And he’s playing a priest.
Third film was about a mixed race French girl who comes back to Burkina to find her mother. Seems her father was one of those ‘Doctors With No Trace’ but he went back and got the girl when she was eight and had her raised by his French wife.Now that he’s dead, the girl, who loves her French family and doesn’t want to hurt them, decides she needs to find her birth mother. An interesting film with an abrupt ending. It’s called Notre Etrangere. At one point in the film I mention to my friend that I envy the girl in the film’s hotel room. My friend is shocked because she thought the room was a dump. (She hasn’t seen mine) When she does see my room she tells me I’m a real trooper but we must get me out of here asap, “OMG, how could you stay here? I couldn’t do it for even one night. This is horrible.”
The lizards like it.