By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Yesterday (May 27th) marked the opening of the 8th edition of the Cinema Negro Brasil África e Caribe Zózimo Bulbul in Rio de Janeiro, celebrating black filmmaking across different nationalities of the world. The opening was held at the Cine Odeon, in Cinelandia, and screenings continue there as well as the Biblioteca Parque (Library Park) and the Rio Art Museum (MAR) until June 8th.
Today’s screening is an Ethiopian film, “The Price of Love“, by writer/director Hermon Hailay, one of the top names in Ethiopian women’s cinema. The film (her third feature) is about a young taxi driver’s love story with a prostitute, who is confronted with his past and discovers the price.
For the curator of the series, Joel Zito Araújo, the idea is to prepare blacks to talk to all of Brazil, not only within the “ghetto” of the black movement.
“There’s a naturalness of the narrative, as if human beings were naturally white and black or Indian were the exception. There are many stories to tell, not only of the black population, but of the representation of Brazil as a country of racial diversity. We do not want to stay in the ghetto or be talking to the ghetto.”
He explains that films that address various topics by black filmmakers were selected. “The black theme is not only the discussion of racism, [but also involves] aspects of black culture. It’s [the way] blacks look at the world and their contemporaneity.”
Araújo said the film series – which is the largest in Latin America – has “ceased to be ashamed of being black and began to say, we want to show our view of reality, our dreams, our desires, our anxieties, our shame, our joys.”
The event is put on by the Centro Afro Carioca de Cinema, which is situated in the heart of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro. They conduct workshops, debates, seminars, shows of national and international films, book launches, and seek to break new ground from a contemporary perspective, realizing the diversity of Brazilian culture and the importance of African culture.