Come Back, Africa
African Cinema • 1h 25m
Lionel Rogosin • South Africa-U.S. • 1959 • Among the bravest and best of all political films
Having served as a soldier in WWII, Lionel Rogosin became committed to countering the effects of fascism wherever they sprouted. To that end he spent a year in Sophiatown, a South African ghetto where Black citizens had formed their own vibrant community and culture. Famous residents included Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Father Trevor Huddleston, Hugh Masekela, Bloke Modisane, Can Themba and celebrated singer Miriam Makeba—but even as Rogosin filmed, Sophiatown was demolished block-by-block and its residents forcibly removed, until the entire town was razed and replaced by a "whites-only" suburb by the end of production.
One of the bravest and best of all political films, Come Back, Africa remains a powerful classic for its unflinching glimpse at Black livelihood in the face of apartheid. The second film from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lionel Rogosin (On the Bowery) premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Pasinetti Award.
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