2018, Sat, Jan 20

The Game / Rostov-Luanda

D: Abderrahmane Sissako, Turkmenistan / Mauritania 1988, 23 min, Arabic OV / Angola / Mauritania 1997, 80 min, OV with German subtitles

Filmstill from Rostov-Luanda (Abderrahmane Sissako, 1997). Courtesy Institut Francais

Filmstill from Rostov-Luanda (Abderrahmane Sissako, 1997). Courtesy Institut Francais

The Game (Le jeu): Ahmed’s father is a soldier in a battlefield somewhere in the desert. He has only one day with his wife and son after which he must return to the front. Meanwhile, the children play games of war, mirroring their world, with a haunting, innocent cruelty.

Rostov-Luanda by Abderrahmane Sissako (Angola/Mauritania, 1998, 98 minutes, Color)

Born in Mauritania and raised in Mali, Abderrahmane Sissako received a scholarship to study film in Moscow, after graduating from school. To learn Russian, he was sent to Rostov on the Don river for an entire year. On the endless train ride from Moscow to Rostov, he met Baribanga, an Angolan student who was going to the same language school. That year, far from home, the two Africans became friends. Almost two decades later, Sissako decides to search for Baribanga. Rostov-Luanda tells two stories, the search for the long-lost friend, that leads to an encounter with present-day Angola. It is also a personal retrospective, a film about departure and journeying, from Mauritania, to Mali and then to the former Soviet Union, and the new destination in the film, Angola. The film weaves histories of many countries and their intertwinement, the confusion of a continent becomes a sensual experience, and we perceive something of the history of Africa.