Two African themed films at Melbourne

Two films with African themes are scheduled to be shown at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2015, which started on July 30.

Danish filmmaker Camilla Nielsson’s Democrats (2014), is a documentary about two political rivals who are tasked with writing a new democratic constitution for Zimbabwe designed to articulate the limits of the president’s power in the aftermath of the 2013 election in the country. It will be screened on August 3 and 10.

In the film, Paul Mangwana of the long-time ruling party Zanu-PF and Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for Democratic Change try to fulfill their duty while participating in what is a farcical, corrupt and absurd process.

But when the constitution writing goes against President Robert Mugabe’s own interests, things take a far more dangerous turn for both men.

In April, Democrats won the Best Documentary Feature award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The second film is American filmmaker Ben Russell’s Greetings to the Ancestors (2015), a short film on the dreamlike rites and rituals of Swaziland’s different peoples that will be shown on August 5 and 16.

Greetings to the Ancestors is a part dizzying ethnographic study and part hyper-saturated installation art piece. Set between Swaziland and South Africa, in a region still struggling with the divisions produced by an apartheid government, the film documents the dream lives of the territory’s inhabitants as the borders of consciousness dissolve and expand.

Greetings to the Ancestors was the recipient of the Canon Tiger Awards for Short Films in February.

The Melbourne International Film Festival, which was founded in 1952, is held annually over three weeks in Australia. The festival will close on August 16.