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Africa through African Lenses

Annual celebration of African films begins

A young Muslim mother and her 15-year-old pregnant daughter face an impossible situation when the young woman wants an abortion in a country where abortion is legally and morally condemned. “Lingui, the Sacred Bonds” shows Friday, Feb. 18 at the Hollywood Theatre as part of the Cascade Festival of African Films.


The Cascade Festival of African Films, sponsored by Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus, returns for Black History Month, marking 32 years as the longest-running African film festival in the United States.


Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, both virtual and in-person events are planned over five weeks, kicking off Friday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Hollywood Theatre and running through March 5.


The festival is an opportunity to discover the diverse vibrancy of African culture, bringing a curated collection of 30 films by African directors from more than 18 nations. There will also be live interviews with filmmakers, community conversations and a virtual marketplace featuring local vendors and more.


Opening night will feature the film “DiaTribe” (USA, 2020), a concert documentary featuring the evolutionary lineage between African dance traditions and the dance styles of today's youth. Director A.J. Wone will join viewers in person for a post-film discussion.


As part of the festival’s virtual format, “DiaTribe” and the other films featured will also be available for a limited period of time for viewing from the comfort and safety of festival-goers’ homes.


Additional in-person events include the festival’s centerpiece weekend, featuring “Lingui, the Sacred Bonds” (Chad, 2021), by acclaimed Chadian director Mahamet Saleh Haroun on Friday, Feb. 18 at the Hollywood Theatre in northeast Portland; and “Night Of Kings” (Ivory Coast, 2020) on Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Clinton Street Theatre in southeast Portland.


The closing-night film, “Min Alesh?” (Ethiopia, 2021), from up-and-coming director Amleset Muchie, will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 4 at the Clinton Theatre.


All in-person events will require proof of vaccination or a recent negative PCR COVID-19 test. For more information about the festival, visit africanfilmfestival.org.

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