The annual Zanzibar International Film Festival (formerly known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries) is hosted in July in Tanzania. To mark this event, we’ve picked our nine movies set in Africa!
The theme of the Zanzibar International Film Festival is “When global images meet” where the diversity and creativity of humanity will be explored and – we hope – celebrated!
The festival venue is Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s well worth a visit any time of year.
1. Out of Africa
Did you know? For many years the home of our managing director, Florian Keller has exclusive access to the Ngong Dairy in Kenya where Out of Africa was shot.
This film portrays what happens when the contrasting worlds of South Africa’s rich and poor collide. A gritty, realistic film that addresses the social issues of South Africa is accompanied with an excellent performance by newcomer Presley Chweneyagae. If you buy this DVD, it’s worth watching the various alternative endings offered by the director, Gavin Hood.
3. Constant Gardener
Based on John Le Carre’s thriller novel, this love tragedy delivers a conspiracy theory of a global pharmaceutical company operating within Kenya for its questionable trials. With many familiar landmarks within Nairobi and across Europe, this film crosses politics, morality and faith.
4. Blood Diamond
This Leonardo DiCaprio film investigates the issues of “blood” diamonds in Sierra Leone where diamond have been mined to support the conflict. This thought-provoking thriller raised awareness of a real and current issue with some political success.
5. Last King of Scotland
James McAvoy plays a Scottish doctor who becomes the personal physician of the former dictator in Uganda, Idi Amin (superbly acted by Forest Whitaker) and is based on factual events of the country’s history.
Clint Eastwood directed this story with excellent performances by Matt Damon, playing François Pienaar, the captain of the rugby union team and Morgan Freeman’s role as Nelson Mandela. It’s based loosely on the events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the complex relationship between the new president of South Africa and the sports captain in a country just recovering from a bitter history of apartheid.
7. The White Maasai
A controversial film based on an autobiographical novel, it describes a Swiss woman who marries a Maasai warrior in Kenya, explores the clash of cultures with key topics such as female circumcision and matrimonial duty.
8. Hotel Rwanda
Based on real-life events this is an incredible heartfelt yet violent movie about a hotelier at Hotel des Milles Collines in Rwanda who provided refuge during the 1994 war between the politics of two tribal groups: the Hutu and Tutsi people. It’s the perfect start to your Rwanda safari!
9. A Sunday in Kigali
A film inspired by Gil Courtemanche’s brave novel of the same name, this is also based on the events surrounding the Rwandan genocide. It tells the tragic love story of a young woman, Gentille who works at the Hotel des Milles Collines and Bernard Valcourt, a documentary film maker and journalist.