AFRICAN METROPOLIS REVIEW
By: Tony Manyangadze
It all comes down to seven.
Seven African countries, seven cities, seven films, seven directors and seven crews to make this first of its kind African short film collection.
This seven-fold production gives a different perception on how the African continent is usually stereotyped in most western films. This was achieved by focusing mostly on the life in the seven Africa’s largest metropolitan cities thus the name African Metropolis.
This portrayal is carried throughout all the short films. Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos and Nairobi are the seven featured cities that were selected from 40 different African countries.
The seven production teams under the supervision of executive producer, Steven Markovitz, went a distance to showcase life in the city. All productions had exterior scenes shot on the street. In an average of 15 minutes, a story was told. As a viewer, a short trip to one new city and exposure to a different culture was the experience.
Two of the ten Durban International Film Festival themes were dominant in most of the seven productions. The main one is that of African focus and also that of sexual identities.
The seven stories are told in such a suspense provoking way. They are interestingly inconclusive and subliminal leaving key issues for viewers to reach their own supposition.
Africa is a continent that’s still coming to terms with some societal facets such as homosexuality. This is what lays subliminally in a number of these short films. They are not vividly established in the stories but rather they are elements left for the audience to decide. Such degree of ambiguity is evidence of the sensitivity of the African society.
This collection of short films is a worthy watch. It’s a very good way that can be used by Africans to face issues they frown upon. But that’s a decision one can make when watching African Metropolis. It’s ambiguous and as such, as a viewer you can either choose between facing understanding another aspect of the society or not to.