Saturday 9 Dec 2017, 14:00
Silent film with live piano accompaniment by Nigerian composer Juwon Ogungbe
This 1916 epic film was one of the first South African dramatic film productions, and the oldest surviving South African feature film. It tells the story of the Boers’ Great Trek, concluding with a reconstruction of the horrific 1838 Battle of Blood River, where a few hundred armed Afrikaners defeated several thousand Zulus. Commemorating as it did the Afrikaners’ view of a highly contentious period of history, and celebrating what was believed to be a God-given victory against the odds, the film came to be revered by the Afrikaner nation at the time. It has been compared to the equally contentious and racist Birth of a Nation, as it emphasises the common point of view between Britons and Afrikaners and the ‘savagery’ of the native peoples. While we recognise its problematic politics, as the first film from South Africa it deserves a place in the Lost Classics programme. The screening will be accompanied by acclaimed Nigerian composer Juwon Ogungbe’s original score, performed live by the musician.
This screening is part of the UK-wide season Africa's Lost Classics, revisiting the history of African cinema through a project led by Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival in Scotland and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).