The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 8-14

04/08/2015 9:46 AM |


Sankofa (1993)
Directed by Haile Gerima
The Ethiopia-born Gerima’s films present slavery in different guises. Harvest: 3,000 Years, for instance, shows an impoverished clan in his homeland tending a wealthy white landowner’s farm, while Bush Mama lays out perils of wage slavery facing ghettoized African-Americans in contemporary Los Angeles. In Sankofa, Gerima (who has lived in the US for much of his life) tells the tale of an African-American fashion model (played by Oyafunmike Ogunlano) who goes to work at a white photographer’s beck and call on a shoot at a former slave trading site in Ghana, and who then finds herself sucked into the past and serving as a Louisiana plantation slave. The abuses she meets raise her awareness of how enforced captivity of black people has lasted well beyond slavery’s formally legalized end. The film’s name is an Akan word that means “reach back and get it”; that word is also the name of one of the film’s characters, an older Ghanaian musician (Kofi Ghanaba) encircling past-haunted sites who calls for slaves from every era to “step out and tell your story.” Aaron Cutler (Apr 12, 5pm, 8pm at BAM’s “Space is the Place: Afrofuturism on Film”)