I’ve been looking forward to writing this entry in my ‘In-Flight’ series the most. Nevertheless, it’s also the one that makes me the most nervous. The point of this series is to provide you with a few films you can watch before an upcoming trip, or just for pleasure. In the first instance they’re supposed to provoke excitement and curiosity. If you learn something along the way, then that’s a big plus. And there’s lots for Westerners to learn about Africa.
But that’s just it. There’s so much and there’s no way I can just lump ‘Africa’ altogether as that would be such a sweeping statement. That I’ve technically already made. Because there’s many differences from Morocco to Kenya. There are also heaps of fantastic films, it’s so difficult to choose just a handful. So, even if they are arguably not the best, I’ve chosen my favourite films and the most wanderlust-inspiring.
Out of Africa (1985)
One of the most prolific classic films about Africa, Out of Africa provides a rose-tinted look at white people living in Africa at the beginning of the 20th century. The Ivory trade is rampant and the ‘shoo’ing of Native Africans is disgusting. But as our Western characters learn more about Africa and their appreciation of its beauty grows, so does our own. This sweeping epic is a fairytale that you should watch with your blinkers on and eyes wide open to the issues it quietly steps over but the African landscape is just memorising.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)
By far not the best film about Nelson Mandela, but one of the most comprehensive as it’s based on Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. Mandela plays such a prominent part in South Africa’s history and learning more is unavoidable if you want to know more about segregation in South Africa. Which would probably be beneficial if you’re planning on travelling there.
I had a hard time choosing my final film as I really wanted to pick Tsotsi (2005) which is a fantastic South African film, but not as wanderlust-y as I would like and I had already chosen a film about South Africa. However, I hadn’t chosen one that was set in any of the Middle Eastern countries in Africa so that brings me to Casablanca. This film is an absolute dream and a must for anyone going to Morocco. I’m sure a lot has changed since the 1940s but this film will still get you excited about going there.
Other films: District 9 (2009), Invictus (2009), Tsotsi (2005), Hotel Rwanda (2004), Gorillas in the Mist (1988), Beasts of No Nation (2015), Touki Bouki (1973)
Can you think of any other films that will inspire travellers to go to Africa?