Series/Festivals

Week of January 9, 2002

 African Voices. Webster University presents a four-film series reflecting the diverse contemporary African diasporo. The opening installment features Otomo, which calmly contemplates the Aug. 8, 1989, incident that left Cameroon political refugee Frederic Otomo and two Stuttgart policeman dead and three other officers injured. After a humiliating attempt to secure day work, Frederic, known as Albert Ament, assaults a confrontational subway attendant. Co-writer/director Frieder Schlaich then imagines events between 6:14 and 9:08 a.m. that ordinary day, compressing into 84 powerful minutes the blatantly overt and insidiously subtle racism contributing to this tragedy. Throughout the cross-cutting between the police and Frederic, casual dialogue and nonverbal exchanges mount a devastating critique of cultures exploiting immigrant labor while refusing them decent treatment. As Frederic, Isaach de Bankole wordlessly communicates an exhausted resignation yielding to frustration, desperation and, finally, violence. Evenly paced, without histrionics, Otomo builds to its wrenching conclusion, shot at the actual death site ... the Gaisburger Bridge. In German with English subtitles. Plays at 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at Webster University. (DC)

Cinema in the City. Webster University sponsors once-a-month Wednesday screenings in Beatnik Bob's Cafe. This month features Val Guest's The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas (1957), in which two men, one good, one not so good, seek the elusive Yeti. Plays at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at Beatnik Bob's Cafe, City Museum, 15th and Lucas streets. NR

 
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