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A Visit To Vanguard Cinema

Sudanese archival shorts + discussion | 66′

Talal Afifi, Founder of Sudan Film Factory and Sudan Film Festival in Khartoum, presents Sudanese Cinema: Unfinished Journeys, Endless Dreams, two evenings dedicated to showcasing Sudanese films spanning from the 1970s and 1980s to contemporary works reflecting the aftermath of the 2019 revolution. The selection tries not only to explore the socio-political developments depicted in these films but also delves into the cinematic techniques, practices and visual experimentation that Sudanese filmmakers have employed over nearly four decades.


The strand begins with Window To Renewed Hope, a screening of films and discussion providing essential context on Sudanese cinema, its formative years, and the socio-political landscape surrounding film production in Sudan. Then, A Visit To Vanguard Cinema‘s selection builds on this introduction and focuses on archive cinema and the Sudanese Film Group.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a group of filmmakers (Ibrahim Shaddad, Altayeb Mahdi, Suleiman El Nour) worked in the film department of the Ministry of Culture at the time. This group founded the Sudanese Film Group (SFG) in April 1989 and they are the group featured in the film Talking about Trees.

Jamal (A Camel), 1981, directed by Ibrahim Shaddad 

The short film Jamal is a report from the life of a camel, most of which plays out in a dreary, small room – a sesame mill.


Al Mahatta (The Station), 1989, directed by Eltayeb Mahdi

Sudan, in the late 1980s. People cross the desert on foot or cover long distances by car and truck. In Al Mahatta, Eltayeb Mahdi shows encounters at one of the large crossroads between the capital Khartoum in the centre of the country and Bur Sudan on the Red Sea.


Africa, The Jungle, Drums and Revolution, 1979, directed by Suliman Elnour

Elnour’s diploma film from The Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, is about representations of Africa in Soviet society.

*These films lean towards an experimental nature.


Tigers Are Better-Looking, 1979, directed by Hussein Shariffe

Tigers are Better-Looking
Hussein Shariffe, UK 1979

Set in late 1970s London, Tigers Are Better Looking uses the British Queen’s 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations as a connecting thread binding British nationalism and racism in 1970s London to the earlier imperial moment of the mid-1930s. Shariffe’s film is an adaptation of a short story by the white Caribbean Creole writer Jean Rhys. In Rhys’s version, George V’s 1935 Silver Jubilee becomes the backdrop for a story of a single woman’s struggle for economic survival and sexual autonomy in pre-World War II London.


The screening will be followed by a talk with film scholar Erica Carter.


About the curator

Talal Afifi, a Sudanese film producer and the founder of Sudan Film Factory, has been involved in the production of numerous narrative and documentary films since 2010. He has also contributed to the development of various artistic programs in partnership with international institutions, such as “Follow the Nile” with the Robert Bosch Foundation, aimed at supporting and developing film projects for young filmmakers from the Nile Basin and North Africa.

He established the Sudan Independent Film Festival in 2014 and managed it for six editions with a highly diverse team. Additionally, he has served on several international film award jury panels, including chairing the jury of the International Documentary Award in 2022.

Currently, he is actively involved in producing several documentary films in collaboration with production teams from the UK, Germany, and Egypt.


About the speaker

Erica Carter is a researcher, lecturer and curator, and Professor of German and Film in the Department of Film Studies at King’s College, London. She has published and lectured widely on film history, early cinema aesthetics, and decolonial archive practice. Her publications include the co-authored Mapping the Sensible. Distribution, Inscription, Cinematic Thinking (2022); Béla Balázs. Early Film Theory (2010); and the BFI German Cinema Book (2nd edn. 2021). A major focus of her current research is the archive and artistic legacy of the Sudanese filmmaker, poet and fine artist Hussein Shariffe.


London – Barbican Cinemas 2 & 3

Saturday 29 June 15:10

Dates & Tickets coming soon 

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