Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 2001
Country: Tanzania/USA
Run Time: 112 minutes

Spirits walk among us in Tanzania's tantalizing first entry in the Academy Awards (Jonathan Demme was one of the executive producers), a tale of clashing beliefs and lore, unique as a predominantly Swahili-language feature. Samehe is a patient in Dr. Moshi's rural African mental hospital, a mute orphaned "under mysterious circumstances" who has not spoken a word in 20 years. All day she sits at the window, watching and waiting, and at night she produces remarkable drawings of lost people and places. When she was a little girl Samehe communed with ghosts of her ancestors, and felt the powers of the forests, of the rivers and the mountains. Her native-bred animist spirituality outraged her father, a fire-and-brimstone Christian minister, whose piety drove him to commit a heinous act that plunged his daughter into the limbo of psychological trauma. Now Samehe's powers are beginning to emerge again. And present to witness the soul-shaking phenomenon is Asira, an African-American doctor newly-arrived at the institution. Although hailing from Mississippi, Asira finds herself drawn, like nobody else on the hospital's staff, into Samehe's private world, a realm of tribal mysticism and magic. There, on an unconquered psychic plane that is Mother Africa, both women will experience a visionary encounter with Maangamazi, Grandmother of all grandmothers. (Partially in Swahili with English subtitles)

Queenae Taylor Mulvihill

Martine Mhando, Ron Mulvihill

Queenae Taylor Mulvihill, Ron Mulvihill, Martin Mhando

Willie Earl Dawkins

James B. Ling

Principal Cast
BarbaraO, Amandina Lihamba, Mwanajuma Ali Hassan, Waigwa Wachira, Thecla Mjatta, Kisaka A. Kisaka, Adam S. Mwambile, Chemi Che Mponda, Janet Fabian, Samahani M. Kejeri, Mona Mwakalinga, Zeinabu Bure, Sada Muhamedi, Christa Kombo

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