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'Mama Africa'

At the Three Rivers Film Festival

Friday, November 15, 2002

By John Hayes, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

An urban love story, a basketball dream and the rehabilitation of a woman drug dealer? Sounds pretty American to me.

'Mama Africa'

The Three Rivers Film Festival runs through Nov. 24, screening more than 40 films at the Harris Theater (809 Liberty Ave., Downtown), the Melwood Screening Room (477 Melwood Ave., Oakland) and the Regent Square Theater (1035 S. Braddock Ave., Edgewood).

Tickets are $6 each; $4 for the Unseen Cinema, Film Kitchen and Short Program. A Crazy Eight festival pass is $35. For more information, call 412-682-4111 or go to www.pghfilmmakers.org.

Here a review of one of this weekend's films.

Weekend Schedule
Three Rivers Film Festival


But in three unrelated vignettes, directors Fanta Regina Nacro and Zulfar Otto-Sallies show a middle-class city side of Africa that doesn't conform to Western stereotypes. Teenage girls meet buff dudes in discotheques. An NBA wannabe falls into a Robert Johnson soul-selling metaphor. A troubled young woman changes her life for the love of her daughter.

Hardly "Out of Africa," and although the vignettes are well acted, they seem to end too abruptly. Still, "Mama Africa" is interesting, if only for its depiction of strong-willed African women fighting for their families. With R&B/hip-hop diva Queen Latifah hosting, "Mama Africa" is intended to provide a sense of linkage between young black Americans and their distant African relatives.

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