Benin Film List

Title: Angélique Kidjo l’amazone = Angelique Kidjo the Amazon (1997)
 Format: DVD ; Dolby digital ; region code 1.
Language: Songs sung in Fon; French dialogue, English subtitles.
Run Time: 60 min.
Description: Follows the singer on a visit to her home country of Benin, interspersed with excerpts from concerts, showing the origins of her music.
Genre: Documentary

Title: Si-Gueriki : La reine-mère = The Queen Mother (2003).
Format: VHS
Language: French narration, Bariba dialogue, English subtitles.
Run Time: 63 Min.
Description: The filmmaker returns to his native village in Benin after 10 years studying in Germany and documents the social conditions of the women in Benin (education, marriage) and the social life and customs of the Wasangari of Benin.
Genre: Documentary

Title: Atlantico negro: na rota dos Orixás = Black Atlantic (2001).
Format: VHS
Language: Portuguese with English subtitles.
Run Time: 53 Min.
Description: The waters of the Atlantic brought the slaves from Africa to Brazil, their bodies in chains but their souls still tied to mother Africa. This Brazilian-made film takes us to both shores, to how spiritual life, dance and song came with the captive people and took root in the new soil. Among the many traditions were the language and gods of Yoruba and Jejes from the Republic of Benin. Today, when Brazilians revisit Africa, they teach the Africans the culture that these descendants of slaves keep alive in Brazil. The documentary is a testimony to some of the ironies of the diaspora.
Genre: Documentary

Title: HOPES ON THE HORIZON (2001)
Format: VHS
Language: English and French and other local languages with English subtitles.
Run Time: 115 min
Description: Chronicles the rise of pro-democracy movements in six African countries during the 1990s: Benin: a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy -- Nigeria: a human rights movement challenges the military -- Rwanda: Historians build a platform for dialogue -- Morocco: Women's rights activists reform the traditional religious family code -- Mozambique: Agricultural cooperatives advocate economic reform and land rights -- South Africa: A township unites to promote quality education.
Genre: Documentary

Title: DIVINE CARCASE (1998)
Format: VHS
Language: French, Fon and Yoruba with English subtitles.
Run Time: 60 Min.
Description: Half fiction film, half ethnographic documentary ... Traces the transformation of an automobile, a quintessential disposable commodity of Western technology, into a revered fetish object for a village of the Fon people of Benin.
Genre: Drama

Title: MESSENGER BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (1998)
Format: VHS
Language: Portuguese (introductory segment in French) with English subtitles.
Run Time: 90 Min.
Description: Retraces the adventurous life of photographer Pierre Verger, a French ethnographer who devoted his life to the study of the reciprocal cultural influences between Bahia, Brazil, and the Benin and Nigeria regions in Africa. Not only were cultural traditions brought from Africa to Brazil by slaves, but former slaves who returned to their native continent brought back Brazilian influences as well.  
Genre: Documentary

Title:  Femmes aux yeux ouverts = Women with open eyes (1993)
Format: VHS
Language: French with English subtitles.
Run Time: 51 min.
Description: Presents contemporary African women in four West African countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Benin. We meet a woman active in the movement against female genital mutilation, a health care worker educating women about sexually transmitted diseases, and businesswomen who describe how they have set up an association to share expertise and provide mutual assistance.
Genre: Documentary

Title: GUINEA WORM: THE END OF THE ROAD (1992)
Format: VHS
Language: English
Run Time: 29 min.
Description: Guinea worm is a water-borne parasite which lodges in the lower extremities of the human body, matures, and then burrows out through the skin. Once prevalent throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas, 100 million people in India, Pakistan, and western Africa are still at high risk of suffering this disease. The film introduces Dr. Donald Hopkins, who is leading the fight to eradicate this endemic, and visits Nigeria, Benin, and Ghana--three of the nations with the greatest incidences of guinea worm--and examines steps being taken to fight this affliction. From the strategic planning level involving the World Health Organization, Global 2000, and such well known individuals as former President Jimmy Carter; to governments' involvement in implementing workable plans for their countries; to the actual field doctors and villagers who are the "last battleground," this film is a case study of a major health initiative at work in the third world. As it demonstrates how obstacles such as illiteracy and inadequate funding are being confronted, it makes the case for improving health care in underdeveloped nations.
Genre: Documentary

Title: The world began at Ile-Ife: meaning and function in Yoruba art (1990)
Format: VHS
Run Time: 18 Min.
Language: English
Description: Produced on the occasion of the exhibition Yoruba : nine centuries of African art and thought held at the Art Institute of Chicago from Feb. 10-Apr. 1, 1990. This video supplies a context for the objects in the exhibition and includes photographs and music from the field as well as retelling of the creation myth of the Yoruba.
Genre: Documentary