CinemAfrica, the annual Stockholm film festival devoted to African film was held last week. I was in the jury selecting the best film. The Senegalese film Under the starry sky won the award, and the Egyptian documentary Crop got a honorary mentioning. Below is my review of Crop.
Finally I got the chance to see Jens Assur’s photo exhibition Africa is a Great Country at Liljewalchs in Stockholm. There have been a lot of discussions concerning the provocative Africa-is-a-country title and this has partly overshadowed the content. Is the title ironic or not? Colleagues of mine have already discussed this at NAI Forum. Assur himself states, in his introductory text to the exhibition, that it is meant as an irony directed towards Swedes who still talks about travels to “Africa” – as a monolith – and doesn’t break the continent down into the 50 + countries it contains of. But he doesn’t clarify why he pairs “great” with Africa as a country. Is that also an irony? That is probably not his intention; yet it comes out as a not a very thought through title. Or maybe it is; maybe it has been one of the few ways to lure an audience to an otherwise rather dull exhibition?
TV host from a distant news channel: How is it in Mali now that the War is over, Marc-Andre…. Buoy-z-vert?
The last weeks have been a marathon for me where I have multiplied media intervention with hosts from all over the world, some not understanding a word of what I was trying to say.
This brought me to short answers to complex questions in the like of:
“The War in Mali occurs in one of the harshest, poorest and most isolated place in the world. Beyond the complexity of the terrain, there are also numerous actors with centuries of history behind. “
We, journalists, cannot tell you more than that. We need to get stories before our editorial staff will call us back to tell us that we cost too much or that we need to move to the next emergency. And the War in Mali has not been easy for us journalists. There have been a lot of complains about the media handling and military boycott at the beginning of the crisis (see: http://www.cpj.org/security/2013/01/in-mali-a-war-without-images-and-without-facts.php).