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The third and probably final film that I will attend at the New African Films Festival at the AFI theatre in Silver Spring was probably the best.  War Witch, an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film, while filmed in Africa, is technically not at an African film at all, but rather the product of a Canadian film director.

I won’t go into too many details, but Rachel Mwanza, the young actress and lead character (the war witch) gave a very emotional performance.  The action is not explicitly announced as being set in the Congo, although that’s just a mere technicality, as much of the dialogue is in Lingala.  While the film is overwhelmingly sad, it also has comedic moments, principally a trip to an albino compound that brings to a close longstanding efforts to find a white rooster.

Representatives from Friends of the Congo spoke briefly before the film, encouraging the audience to become more involved and aware of the situation in the country.  Although the violence that constituted Africa’s ‘world war’ approximately a decade ago has ended,  conflict continues in the east of the country and the central government remains weak yet repressive.  US policies appear to focus more on support for the Kabila administration in Kinshasha than to encourage much needed reforms.

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