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ADIFF NY 2014: France and the Race Issue
A program of four films and discussions to explore the state of race relations in France today.
By: African Diaspora International Film Festival
Frantz Fanon was a psychiatrist, originally from Martinique, who had become a spokesman for the Algerian revolution against French colonialism. Embittered by his experience with racism in the French Army, he gravitated to radical politics, Sartrean existentialism and the philosophy of black consciousness known as negritude. Expelled from Algeria in 1956, Fanon moved to Tunis where he wrote for El Moudjahid, the rebel newspaper, founded Africa’s first psychiatric clinic, and wrote several influential books on decolonization. Frantz Fanon, His Life, His Struggle, His Work traces the short and intense life of one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. Directed by Cheikh Djemai, 2001, 52 min, Martinique/France/
3:20pm– The Glass Ceiling
French-Algerian filmmaker Yamina Benguigui is hoping to start a conversation about affirmative action – a policy that does not exist in France today. Benguigui’s Glass Ceiling presents a series of sometimes very emotional first-hand accounts of discrimination against mostly black and North African Arab people who are trying to find jobs. The documentary offers poignant and revealing accounts of discrimination faced by these full-fledged French citizens who are also children of immigrant parents. Directed by Yamina Benguigui, 2004, 103 min, France, Documentary, French, English subt.
5:30PM -Hold Back / Rengaine
In this fresh Paris based comedy-drama, Dorcy, a young black Christian and Sabrina, a young North African Muslim, decide to get married. But Sabrina has forty brothers and this carefree, loving desire for marriage crystalizes a taboo still firmly rooted in the mentalities of the two communities:
7:30PM - Steps to Liberty / Les Marches de la Liberte
Unknown to most Americans, there was a March for Equality and Against Racism that took place in France thirty years ago. It was directly influenced by the non violent actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1963 March on Washington.
In this documentary, ten young Americans set out on a voyage of discovery to visit France, the country of Human Rights, going from the Elysées Palace to modest neighborhoods.
Their meetings with French youth, their visits to French institutions as well as their encounters on both sides of the Atlantic, provide a meaningful look into France through the eyes of young American leaders. The young French women and men they interact with are largely unaware of the slice of history documented in this film. As both groups gain in knowledge of past civil rights victories, they are able to compare the impact the French and American marches may or may not have made on their respective societies. Directed by Rokhaya Diallo, 2014, France, Documentary, 52 min, French, English subt.
Diarah N'Daw Spech