Out of Africa

Selections from this year's African Film Festival.

Following are two selections from the African Film Festival at Washington University. For a complete list of films and for more information about the festival itself, visit www .wupa.wustl.edu:16080/africanfilm.

La Nuit de la Vérité (The Night of Truth)The world is made up of varying shades of gray, even in the fictional African country that serves as the setting for director Fanta Régina Nacro's film, and all who are involved in war have unclean hands. In the years-long civil conflict that has wracked this made-up nation, the blood of many has been shed; even children have been maimed and killed. But despite lingering hostilities and unshakeable feelings of persecution, the civil war is over now, and the rebel Bonandés have invited the Nayak president and his wife to dinner to celebrate the start of a new peaceful age. Tensions leading up to the festive meal are palpable, but the president arrives without incident, and his men and the hosts all agree to lay down their arms for the night. But will the evening pass without conflict? Or will the feelings of loss be too overwhelming and the wounds still too raw to keep the peace? Some truths about the brutality of war and human nature are revealed over the course of the party, and unfortunately, no one is immune to the suffering. In French with English subtitles. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, March 23, in Brown Hall on the campus of Washington University (Forsyth and Skinker boulevards). Free.

Alison Sieloff

Truth hurts: La Nuit de la Vérité is an uncompromising look at civil conflict in Africa.
Truth hurts: La Nuit de la Vérité is an uncompromising look at civil conflict in Africa.

La Fille de Keltoum (The Daughter of Keltoum) A tourism promotional piece for Algeria, Mehdi Charef's film is not. Living in this country is hard, at least outside of the cities, and the daily struggle to find water has life-changing consequences. Nevertheless, an Algerian-born Swiss woman, Rallia, returns to her birthplace to track down the biological mother she never knew. When she arrives at the rocky, barren locale where her relatives barely eke out an existence — a place that is the polar opposite of lush Switzerland — her trek has just begun. Her mother no longer lives there and now works at a hotel in El Kantara. As Rallia hitch-hikes, walks and travels by bus to this city with her crazed aunt in tow, she struggles with the rules that require women to keep their heads covered and forbid them to do much else. And her anger with her mother continues to grow. Even though she is not sure what to expect when she arrives at her destination, Rallia definitely doesn't anticipate what she learns in the end. In French with English subtitles. Screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in Brown Hall on the campus of Washington University (Forsyth and Skinker boulevards). Free. (AS)

 
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