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Filmography - African Feature Films

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2018

Select international productions about Africa

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of June 2018. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

This is a selective list of video holdings in the American University Library. Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings (including VHS tapes) please refer to the library catalog (


Adieu Philippine. 1962. 1 videodisc (106 min.).  dir. Jacques Rozier. Michel is working in a television crew while he waits to be shipped out with the French Army to Algeria. He meets two young actresses, Liliane and Juliette, who join him as he spends his last days of liberty. Algeria. DVD 7916.

Baboon tales. 1998. 1 streaming video file (52 min.).  The story of the first rough and tumble year in the life of 5 olive baboon infants (Papio anubis) where becoming successful depends upon personality, rank, luck, and the help of fellow troop members. Behaviors shown include parenting, foraging, climbing rocks and trees, use of infant by adult males to defuse aggression, inter-troop fighting, mother dealing with dead infant, play, sleeping, grooming. Kenya. DVD 4043 and Streaming video. 

The Battle of Algiers. 1966. 1 videodisc (121 minutes).  One of the most influential political films in history, The Battle of Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo, vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafés, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Algeria. DVD 950 and Streaming video.

Big men. 2013. 1 videodisc (99 min.).  Big Men is a real-life Treasure of the Sierra Madre, an epic tale about ambitious people who uncover a massive and exquisitely rare pot of gold in one of the poorest places on earth. In 2007 US-based Kosmos Energy discovers the first oil in the history of the West African republic of Ghana. What follows over the next five years is a twisting tale of greed and deception, which director Rachel Boynton films with razor-sharp journalistic skill. While in Ghana she makes side trips to nearby Nigeria, whose own oil reserves have been responsible for a vicious cycle of exploitation with little appreciable benefit to the country itself. Big Men travels from company meetings about oil deals worth billions to gatherings of heavily armed militants preparing to strike. And along the way it poses vital questions about what fundamentally motivates us: Is unbridled greed an intrinsic part of human nature? And can what unites us ever be greater than what divides us. A remarkable verité portrait of the deeper implications of global capitalism and the quest for oil, acclaim and cash that affects us all--Outcast Films website. Ghana. DVD 12697.  

Beau travail. 1999, 1 videodisc (90 min.). Men in the French Foreign Legion, escaping some personal or legal entanglement, can leave their lives behind and take on a new identity. In an outpost in Djibouti, the men of the Legion yield to the rigid discipline and unvarying routine of life within it. When new recruit Sentain saves the life of a fellow soldier, brooding taskmaster Sgt. Galoup sets out to destroy him. The film observes how power functions among men, and considers the consequences of remaining a stranger, even as the Legionnaires must always remain strangers. Djibouti. DVD 6826.

Black hawk down. 2002, 1 videodisc (144 min.).  With exacting detail, the film re-creates the American siege of the Somalian city of Mogadishu in October 1993, when a 45-minute mission turned into a 16-hour ordeal of bloody urban warfare. Helicopter-borne U.S. Rangers were assigned to capture key lieutenants of Somali warlord Muhammad Farrah Aidid, but when two Black Hawk choppers were felled by rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. soldiers were forced to fend for themselves in the battle-torn streets of Mogadishu, attacked from all sides by armed Aidid supporters. Somali. DVD 346.

Blood diamond. 2006. 1 videodisc (143 min.).  Danny Archer is an ex-mercenary turned smuggler. Solomon Vandy is a local Mende fisherman. Amid the explosive civil war overtaking 1999 Sierra Leone, these men join together for two dangerous missions: recovering a rare pink diamond of immense value and rescuing the fisherman's son. The son was conscripted as a child soldier into the brutal rebel forces ripping a swath of torture and bloodshed across the alternately beautiful and ravaged countryside. Sierra Leone. DVD 2632

Bound to strike back. 1987. 1 videodisc  (30 min.).  Shows a South Africa torn by civil war. Follows the security forces and police as they attempt to repress the Black freedom movement, and the organizations, such as the African National Congress and the United Democratic Front, which speak for the movement. South Africa. DVD 12313.

Captain Phillips. 2013, 2 videodiscs (approximately 134 min.).  "[An] examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship MV Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. Based on a true story, the film focuses on the Alabama's commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips ... and the Somali pirate captain, [Abduwali] Muse ... who takes him hostage"--Container. Somalia. DVD 11154.

Concerning violence nine scenes from the anti-imperialistic self-defense. 2014, 1 videodisc (89 minutes).  In this potent, arresting, and surprisingly emotional film, Olsson artfully elucidates Fanon's psychiatric and psychological analysis of dehumanizing effects of colonization on the individual and the nation. Fanon's theory is that the violence of colonialism must be met with greater violence to be defeated, as well as his vision and plea to reject the lust for colonial power and instead embrace a more creative and human society. Algeria. DVD 12188.

Darfur now six stories, one hope. 2007, 1 videodisc (98 min.).  Follows the story of six people who are determined to end the sufferings in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur. The six - an American activist, an international prosecutor, a Sudanese rebel, a sheikh, a leader of the World Food Program and an internationally known actor - demonstrate the power of how one individual can create extraordinary changes. Sudan. DVD 4325. 

Endgame. 2009, 1 videodisc (109 min.).  Working for P. W. Botha, Dr. Neil Barnard opens talks with imprisoned Nelson Mandela. But lesser known are the secret talks that take place in a rural English manor house. Both sides may win or lose all, including their own lives. Botha learns of the British talks and, with the inevitable demise of apartheid, he intends to control the endgame by using the tactics of divide and rule. Against all the odds, a precious arena of frail trust between the two warring parties is achieved. South Africa. DVD 7036. 

Eye in the sky. 2015. 1 videodisc (1 hr., 42 min.).  Col. Katherine Powell, a military officer in command of an operation to capture terrorists in Kenya, sees her mission escalate when a girl enters the kill zone, triggering an international dispute over the implications of modern warfare. Kenya. DVD 13246.

Future of mud a tale of houses and lives in Djenne : a constructed documentary. 2007. 1 streaming video file (58 min.).  Through the story of Komusa Tenapo [a mason in Djenne, Mali], and his family, this documentary examines an African tradition of mud architecture in Mali. The environmental genius of these ancient construction techniques -- these walls with tiny windows that keep the interiors cool despite the stifling heat -- is expressed in strikingly beautiful designs that have won the town of Djenne designation as a World Heritage site. Komusa, family members, and Madame Diallo, a Cultural Heritage official, present information on the history of Malian architecture. The film also shows the annual replastering of Djenne's Great Mosque, the largest mud brick building in the world, a day-long boisterous community effort, and a major public celebration observed by local residents and tourists. Mali. Streaming video. 

Général Idi Amin Dada autoportrait. 1974, 1 videodisc (90 min.).  In 1974 a film crew followed Idi Amin Dada, dictator of Uganda, interviewing him and filming him as he worked. Provides a candid portrait of a notorious figure.   Uganda.  DVD 12291 and Streaming video.

God loves Uganda. 2013, 1 videodisc (83 min.).  Examines the role played by the American evangelical movement and the International House of Prayer megachurch in the state-sanctioned persecution of homosexuals in Uganda. Uganda.  DVD 5063 and Streaming video.;3152038 

Gorillas in the mist the story of Dian Fossey. 1988. 1 videodisc (130 min.).  Based on the true story of young anthropologist Dian Fossey who travels to the African mountains to study the rare gorillas. Rwanda. DVD 5746.

Hotel Rwanda. 2004. 1 videodisc (122 min.).  Based on the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a five-star-hotel manager who uses his wits and persuasion in striving to save more than 1,200 Tutsis and Hutus from being massacred by the Interahamwe militia during the 1994 Rwandan conflict. Rwanda. DVD 1205.

I dreamed of Africa.  2000. 1 videodisc (115 min.).  Epic tale of a woman's quest for adventure and a new life in the majestic, untamed lands of rural Africa. A passionate film about love, loss and personal triumph. Kenya. DVD 8771. 

In and out of Africa. 1992.  1 videodisc (60 min.).  "During the colonial period in the 1920's, European interest in collecting African art stimulated a transnational trade between Africa and the West. Today this multi-million dollar trade lies largely in the hands of Muslim merchants. This is a story about Gabai Baare, a merchant who brings 'wood' from West Africa to sell in the United States. It is a story about the meaning of art"--Opening credits. Nigeria. DVD 8603. 

Invictus. 2009, 1 videodisc (133 min.).  Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match. South Africa. DVD 7099.

Kinshasa Symphony. 2010, 1 online resource (95 min.).  Two hundred orchestral musicians are playing Beethoven's Ninth -- 'Freude schoner Gotterfunken'. A power cut strikes just a few bars before the last movement. Problems like this are the least of the worries facing the only symphony orchestra in the Congo. In the 15 years of its existence, the musicians have survived two putsches, various crises and a war. But concentration on the music and hopes for a better future keeps them going. Kinshasa Symphony is a study of people in one of the world's most chaotic cities doing their best to maintain one of the most complex systems of joint human endeavour: a symphony orchestra. The film is about the Congo, the people in Kinshasa and the power of music. 'A superb and affecting documentary about some highly unusual musicians, the staggering challenges they face in their everyday lives, the amazing city they live in and the power of Beethoven's Ninth. Congo. Streaming video.;2095244

The last king of Scotland. 2006. 1 videodisc (123 min.).  A fictional chronicle of Idi Amin's rise and fall. Amin's despotic reign of terror is viewed through the eyes of Nicholas Garrigan, a Scottish doctor who arrives in Uganda in the early 1970s to serve as Amin's personal physician. His perspective as an outsider causes him to be initially impressed by Amin's calculated rise to power and he grows increasingly monstrous. A pointed examination of how independent Uganda (a British colony until 1962) became a breeding ground for Amin's genocidal tyranny. Amin is both seductive and horribly destructive. Garrigan grows increasingly prone to exploitation. Uganda. DVD 2699 and Streaming video.

Leaving Africa a story about friendship and empowerment. 2015. 1 streaming video file (1 hr., 25 min.).  Finnish doctor Riitta has been working in Uganda for more than 25 years. Together with her Ugandan friend Catherine, she brings sex education to Ugandan villages, challenging priests, imams, women and their husbands to discussions on women's rights to their bodies, sexuality and life. In ultra-conservative Uganda, this soon leads to serious complications, jeopardizing their entire life's work. This is a film about the quest for gender equality in Africa and the world's greatest challenge--mitigating the population explosion. Uganda. Streaming video.

Lumumba. 2000, 1 streaming video file (115 min.). Dramatizes the life of Congolese revolutionary, Patrice Lumumba, who lead his country to independence from Belgium in 1960.  He served, for less than a year, as the first elected prime minister until he was brutally assassinated. Congo. DVD 488. Streaming video.

The man who stopped the desert. 2010, 1 videodisc (64 min.).  Documentary film about Yacouba Sawadogo, a peasant farmer from northern Burkina Faso who has become a pioneer in the fight against desertification and hunger. His work over a quarter century has resulted in the successful rehabilitation of farmland, the regrowth of forests, the return of former residents to their homeland, and praise from international organizations. Burkina Faso. DVD 9178. 

Milking the rhino. 2009, 1 videodisc (83 min.).  "A ferocious kill on the Serengeti; warnings about endangered species... These cliches of nature films ignore a key landscape feature: villagers just off-camera who endure the dangers and costs of living with wild animals. The Maasai tribe of Kenya and Namibia's Himba -- two of earth's oldest cattle cultures -- are emerging from a century of 'white man's conservation,' which threw them off their lands, banned subsistence hunting and fueled resentment. They are discovering that earnings from wildlife tourism can rival the benefits of livestock. But change is not easy. Charting the collision of ancient ways with Western expectations, [this film] offers complex, intimate stories of Africans at the forefront of community-based conservation." -- Container. Kenya. DVD 5716. Streaming video.

Moi, un noir (Treichville). 1985, 1 streaming video file (70 min.). The film depicts an ordinary week in the lives of men and women from Niger who have migrated to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, for work. After a short introduction by Rouch, "Edward G. Robinson" (Omarou Ganda, who like the film's other subject-collaborators plays himself under the name of a Western movie star) takes over the film's narration, recreating dialogue and providing freewheeling commentary on his experiences. Robinson describes the bitter reality of life in Treichville, a poor inner suburb populated largely by migrants, and his work as a day laborer (bozori) in the portraits. Ivory Coast. Streaming video.

Mugabe and the white African. 2009, 1 videodisc and 1 streaming video (94 min.).  "Family patriarch Mike Campbell is one of the few white farmers left in Zimbabwe since President Robert Mugabe began his violent land seizure program in 2000. Since then the country has descended into chaos, the economy brought to its knees by the reallocation of formerly white-owned farms to Mugabe cronies, who have no knowledge, experience or interest in farming. In 2008, after years of intimidation and threats to his family and farm, Campbell decides to take action. Unable to call upon the protection of any Zimbabwean authorities, he challenges Mugabe before an international court, [the Southern African Development Community Tribunal], charging him and his government with racial discrimination and human rights violations.."-- Publisher's website. Zimbabwe. DVD 8095. Streaming video.

Nelio's story = Comedia infantil. 1998, 1 online resource (1 video file, approximately 92 min.).  Shot in Mozambique, but set in an unnamed city, the film depicts the life of an orphan boy, Nelio, whose parents were killed by guerrillas. He escapes to the city and finds magic there and is soon rumoured to possess healing powers, in this violent, yet mythic coming -of-age story. Based on a novel by the popular Swedish writer Henning Mankell. Mozambique. Streaming video.

Nirgendwo in Afrika = Nowhere in Africa. 2001, 1 videodisc (142 min.).  Critically acclaimed, this is the award winning true tale of a Jewish family who flee the Nazi regime in 1938 and learn to cope with their new life, and each other, on a remote farm in Kenya. Kenya. DVD 1155.

Nollywood Babylon. 2008. 1 videodisc (74 min.).  Chronicles the wild world of "Nollywood," a term coined in the early '90s to describe the world's fastest-growing national cinema, the Nigerian film industry. The film delves first-hand into Nigeria's explosive homegrown movie industry, producing 2500 films a year, most for under $10,000. Peppered with interviews with producers, directors and actors, film clips and buoyed by a rousing score fusing Afropop and traditional sounds, Nollywood Babylon celebrates the distinctive power of Nigerian cinema now bursting beyond the borders of Africa. Nigeria. DVD 11107 and Streaming video. 

Out of Africa. 1985. 2 videodiscs (161 min.).  The true story of Karen Blixen, a strong-willed woman who, with her philandering husband, runs a coffee plantation in Kenya, circa 1914.  To her astonishment she soon discovers herself falling in love with the land, its people and the mysterious white hunter. Kenya. DVD 1717.

Le petit soldat = Little soldier. 1963, 1 videodisc (88 min.).  "Set during the Algerian War, [the film] follow Bruno Forestier, a disillusioned young deserter who becomes involved in the French nationalist movement. He is ordered to kill an Algerian sympathizer, and although he does not hold deep political beliefs, commits the murder and undergoes torture when captured. At the same time, he meets and falls in love with a woman who he does not know is fighting for the other side."--Container. Algeria.  DVD 6189.

Rebelle = War witch. 2012. 1 videodisc (approximately 90 min.).  A brutal yet poetic snapshot of life as one of Africa's child soldiers, following a young girl who is kidnapped from her village by a group of rebel fighters. Forced to gun down members of her family and enemy soldiers, she takes solace in fellow soldier Magician, a young albino with whom she escapes and starts a new life. Congo. DVD 3370.

Red dust. 2004. 1 videodisc (111 min.).  A political thriller set in a small South African town during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings. Human rights lawyer Sarah Barcant must represent Alex Mpondo, a former political activist,  who was held captive and sadistically tortured by a police officer under the apartheid regime in South Africa. South Africa. DVD 2240. 

Rêves de poussière = Dreams of dust. 2006, 1 videodisc (86 min.).  Film movement series #v year 5, film   A Nigerien peasant comes looking for work in Essakane, a dusty gold mine in NE Burkina Faso, Africa.  He quickly finds out the gold rush ended twenty years before and the inhabitants of this wasteland manage to exist simply from force of habit. Burkina Faso.  DVD 3059.

Sankofa. 1993, 1 videodisc (125 min.).  The story about the transformation of Mona, a self-possessed African-American woman sent on a spiritual journey in time to experience the pain of slavery and the discovery of her African identity. Ghana. Burkina Faso.  DVD 6078.

Shooting Dogs. 2005, 1 videodisc (112 min.).  A powerful re-telling of the actual events of Rwanda's 1994 genocide. At first, life is relatively calm at Rwanda's Ecole Technique Officielle, a European-run secondary school where UN peacekeepers provide protection for students and refugees alike, in a country scarred by historically warring factions. And a wise if world-weary Catholic priest is an apt spiritual guide for an idealistic young teacher. But when Hutu militia launch a bloody attack on the school, the two men must search their faith and decide whether to face death amongst the refugees or flee for safety. Rwanda. DVD 4497. 

Shooting with Mursi.  2009. 1 videodisc (57 min.).  "This unique film tells the story of one of Africa's most isolated tribes -- the Mursi -- through the eyes of one of its members Olisarali Olibui, who carries in one hand a Kalashnikov and in the other, a camera. A pastoralist tribe, living in an area of Ethiopia the size of Wales, the Mursi are surrounded by potential threats 14 other tribes, national park proposals and the arrival of a new road bringing tourists. The film provides a compelling and at times disturbing insight into everyday life of a people whose culture, in the words of Olisarali, faces extinction."--Container . Ethiopia. DVD 15139 and Streaming video. 

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars. 2007, 1 videodisc (80 min.).  Uplifting and courageous, this dramatic seven-time award-winning film by Zach Niles and Banker White tracks the journey of a group of six musicians who formed a band after being displaced from their home during a brutal decade long civil war. Sierra Leone. DVD 10871. 

Le Silence De La Foret (the Forest). 2003. 1 online resource (1 video file, approximately 63 min.).  This film, the first from the Central African Republic, takes us inside the world of the 'pygmies' or more properly BaAka. Le silence de la forêt is a film about the difficulty for even the most well-intentioned person to know and respect another culture. In this case, the problem is so acute that there is even heated debate over what to call that 'other.' Cameroon. Gabon. Central African Republic. Streaming video. 

Tahrir Liberation Square. 2011. 1 streaming video file (93 min.).   Soon after the first reports came about the occupation of Tahrir Square, filmmaker Stefano Savona headed for Cairo, where he stayed, amidst the ever-growing masses in the Square, for weeks. His film introduces us to young Egyptians such as Elsayed, Noha and Ahmed, spending all day and night talking, shouting, singing, finally expressing everything they were forbidden to say out loud until now. As the protests grow in intensity, the regime's repression becomes more violent, with the terrifying potential for massacre never far away. 'Tahrir' is a film written in the faces, hands, and voices of those who experienced this period in the Square. It is a day-to-day account of the Egyptian revolution, capturing the anger, fear, resolve and finally elation of those who made it happen. Egypt. DVD 360 and Streaming video.

We come as friends. 2014. 1 videodisc (approximately 109 min.).  At the moment when the Sudan, the continent's biggest country, is being divided into two nations, an old civilizing pathology re-emerges: that of colonialism, clash of empires, and yet new episodes of bloody (and holy) wars over land and resources. The director Hubert Sauper flies a plane into South Sudan, interviewing residents, Chinese oil workers, UN peacekeepers, warlords and American evangelists. South Sudan. DVD 13181.

Welcome to Nollywood. 2007, 1 videodisc (58 min.).  "Welcome to Nollywood provides a fascinating look into the newly emerging Nigerian film industry, exploring its inner workings and introducing viewers to Nollywood's passionate auteurs. Through clips and on-set visits, we meet Chico Ejiro, aka "Mr. Prolific," a filmmaker who has made over a hundred films. We follow the production of an epic war filmi by Izu Ojukwu, a young Nollywood director who is known for his high intensity action films. Both directors battle limited budgets, frequent power outages, mutinous casts, and none of the infrastructure that supports other national cinemas."--Container. Niger. DVD 7338.

A United Kingdom. 2016. 1 online resource (1 video file (1 hr., 50 min., 52 sec)).  A UNITED KINGDOM tells the inspiring true story of Seretse Khama, the King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1948 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments. Seretse and Ruth defied family, Apartheid and empire - their love triumphed over every obstacle flung in their path and in so doing they transformed their nation and inspired the world. Botswana. Streaming video.