One of the reasons I love New York City is that I love it when I have the opportunity to view an old classic on the silver screen. Starting this weekend on Friday, January 27, Film Forum is holding daily screenings of Lionel Rogosin’s groundbreaking classic, Come Back, Africa.
Here’s a little background on the film:
After making his Academy Award nominated documentary On the Bowery, Rogosin was determined to expose the injustices of the apartheid system. In preparation for the film, Rogosin spent six months in South Africa quietly immersing and educating himself on the culture. He surreptitiously befriended leaders of the anti-apartheid movement and met with journalists Bloke Modisane and Lewis Nkosi. After cultivating a loose script, Rogosin hired locals and non-professional actors for his film and proceeded to covertly shoot the entire film right under the noses of the South African authorities, to which Rogosin claimed that he was simply shooting a musical about the natives.
Come Back, Africa was was the first film to bring the reality of apartheid to an international stage, focusing on the brutality Africans endured under a segregated and discriminatory government. The film was a brave political act, in which the filmmaker and his crew risked their own lives in order to examine the lives of Africans in a more honest light. Although the film went on to premiere at the Venice Film Festival where it won the Critic’s Award and became a success in Europe, the film had trouble finding a U.S. distributor. Undeterred, Rogosin opened the Bleecker Street Cinema in New York City for the sole purpose of premiering the film in the States.
Most recently, the film was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2005. Now distributed by Milestone Cinematheque, you’ll be able to watch this cinematic masterpiece at Film Forum until Thursday, February 2. For more information and for specific movie times, check out Film Forum’s website.