As a film lover, I love watching the development of cinema in foreign countries, particularly those that do not have a long-standing film tradition. With the development of cheaper filmmaking equipment and the advent of the internet, many fledgling movie industries have been able to introduce their work to the rest of the world. One such industry is that of African cinema. Abandon all of your preconceptions, because Africa has one of the most diverse and vibrant film industries in the entire world. But it can be daunting to outsiders who have no idea where to look for good African cinema. Therefore, I have compiled this list in order to help those who wish to explore one of the world’s most exciting arenas of cinematic expression.
The ten movies listed here should be considered as entry points into African cinema. They represent all different kinds of genres, from comedies to historical dramas to experimental films. I have tried to compile a list that is both geographically diverse while respecting the historical developments and ground breaking directors that have sent shock waves throughout the industry. Each one of these films has a distinctly African voice that bestows itself with its own ethnic identity. It’s true that some of these films may be difficult to watch by Western standards. But they are the perfect starting point for those who wish to broaden their horizons and explore the wonders of African cinema.
Editor’s note: I found a few of these films for rent at the African Film Library.