Africa We Want

CINEMA: MSU Cinema International Celebrates Black History Month with 2021 Rwanda/USA Film .

Murray State’s Cinema International program continues its 2023 Spring season and celebrates the start of Black History Month with the 2021 Rwandan and American film Neptune Frost. Program director Dr. Thérèse St. Paul speaks with Austin Carter ahead of the screenings. By Austin Carter, Melanie Davis-McAfee

MSU Cinema International presents “Neptune Frost” on Thursday, February 2nd, and Saturday, February 4th.

"Dance-music-driven, dispensing striking colorful imagery, pulsing rapper rhythms and messages against the international system, the film takes place in the hilltops of Rwanda where a group of escaped coltan miners forms an anti-colonialist computer hacker collective.

From their otherworldly e-waste camp, they attempt a takeover of the authoritarian regime exploiting the region’s natural resources and its people. Set between states of being—past and present, dream and memory of Rwanda’s past tragedies, Neptune Frost is an invigorating, visually stunning, and empowering call to reclaim technology for progressive political ends: a poetic film that dreams to spark the brain that will change the world.“The film, directed by Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, combines issues like neo-colonial exploitation, computer hacking collectives, gender issues and women’s independence, Islamaphobia, and American racial injustice, St. Paul explains.”This makes Neptune Frost a timely piece given the recent violence in Memphis.“”Aesthetically, you don’t look for immediate logic in the plot. That’s where it gets interesting. You have to allow yourself to be carried through some kind of stream of consciousness—images, music, lyrics, in a way that you would call surrealist. It aims to provoke the audience, make them think,“St. Paul says.”Neptune Frost does that.“”The technique appears as a mix of exploitative action, poetic lyrics, and visually stunning images—computer generated—and all that mixed with African, traditional art. We see it in the masks, the clothing, dance, face paint, [as well as] the new Africa—musicians with iPhones, headphones, banging on traditional drums. It really shows the dialogue between modern tech and ancient tech, hence the name Afro-futurism.“”I think the Afro-futuristic work wants to flip the script on sci-fi,“St. Paul continues.”There is always a position of white authorship in these sci-fi movies. And here, you see that the technique doesn’t take place in the post-urban or post-industrial western cities like you have in some avant-garde films. This is filmed in Rwanda with local artists and extras.“”The story really revolves around coltan, the mineral that is mined in this so-called ’third world.’ And actually, it makes the whole world fun—[it’s] the material that we make our technological devices with. So, we are complicit with the human rights abuses that happen in those mines. And in many ways, putting the ownership on the Africans to their own mines is right there. Let them market their own goods, right?“”You can’t sleepwalk through [Neptune Frost],“St. Paul concludes.”It pushes the viewer to make sense and make connections."

MSU Cinema International presents Neptune Frost on Thursday, February 2nd, and Saturday, February 4th. Both screenings begin at 7:30 pm in Faculty Hall Room 208 on Murray State’s main campus. Screenings are free and open to the public.

Author: MANZI
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