ArtFilm / TV
AFROPUNK Cinema Nöir: A List Of Our Favorite Movies From Sundance 2023 By Black Filmmakers
By Thembela Ngayi
February 2, 2023
Representation and visibility on platforms where POCs were previously overlooked will always matter to us. Even though we have made strides in asserting ourselves, recognition from institutes and industry peers will always matter. This year’s Sundance Film Festival saw a strong selection of Black filmmakers represented and their stories told. From narratives exploring what it means to be Black, to stories of triumph in the Black diaspora, these works of art moved audiences.
One of the outstanding films was a documentary, “Milisuthando” from the South African Director and Screenwriter, Milisuthando Bongela. The film is a beautiful tapestry of South Africa’s past, present and future, boldly layed out in colourful poetry. Another standout film is “Bravu, Burkin” from acclaimed multi talented artist, Walé Oyéjidé. The story follows a Burkinabé boy who leaves his home village and migrates to Italy, but when he is disillusioned by heartbreak and memories of home, he travels back in time to regain what he has lost. A story too familiar with African immigrants who travel to distant lands in hope of a better life, only to be welcomed by the despair and longing for a sense of community they left behind. We also witness the wondrous contributions that newcomers bring through their labor, craftsmanship and culture.
A fan favorite has to be Lisa Cortés’ film “Little Richard: I am Everything”, a celebration of Little Richard and his origins as a Black Queer Rock n Roll icon. Through archival footage and interviews, the film shows how the icon’s life unspools with all of its switchbacks and contradictions. On a lighter note “Rye Lane” by the UK Director, Raine Allen-Miller is about two individuals finding themselves opening their hearts to a possibility of finding love. It’s a beautiful letter to today’s twenty-somethings about learning to open up to new possibilities whether it’s romantic or platonic relationships.
Here’s a list of some of the movies we think you should watch:
Little Richard: I am Everything
A Thousand and One
In addition to these films, there were a variety of films that pushed the envelope and challenged audiences with bold and powerful storytelling by Black filmmakers. These films demonstrated the importance of elevating underrepresented voices in the film industry and the transformative impact that can have on culture and society. The festival serves as a platform for Black filmmakers to tell their stories on a global stage and it is inspiring to see their continued presence and impact at Sundance.
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