Monday, September 14, 2009

Documentary: Pan-African Cultural Festival

Last Sunday I watched a documentary about the 1st Pan-African Cultural Festival that took place in Algiers, Algeria in 1969. I watched it at the Pacific Film Archives, on the campus of U.C Berkeley, here in Northern California. The film is actually a re-mastered version of an original film that was released much earlier. For some strange reason the director, William Klein, loped off twenty minutes from the original version.If like me you are a rabid Pan-Africanist, then this is a film you have to watch. Swapo, ANC, The Black Panthers, Frelimo, Zapu, they're all in the film.

The film starts with cultural performances from various African countries, and then really takes off with a marvelous, lyrical ditty performed by Miriam Makeba and Dorothy Masuka. There is archived footage of Africa's greatest soldier/philosopher, Amilcar Cabral, explaining what they (The PAIGC) were up against in their battle against the colonial Portuguese. Augustino Neto appears after that, and then there is a philosophical tour-de-force by the Beninoise Stanislas Adetovi, one of the main thinkers of the Negritude Movement. The Black Panther leader, Eldridge Cleaver, also makes a cameo appearance.The film ends with a superb live jazz performance by Archie Shepp, and a group of Algerian musicians. Once again: for Pan-Africanists, this is the film for you.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

James, what's the title of this film? I can't find it. Please email: