With the nation having been embroiled in war for decades, Sudan’s film scene—once led by the great Sudanese film maker Gadalla Gubara—has been on a steady decline, coming to a practical halt.
But that should come as no surprise seeing as there was virtually no support for the film scene once Omar al-Bashir came in to power, with all cinemas (which were government-owned) forced to close or sold off. But after his 30-year-rule came to an end, the local cinema scene is seeing a major revival.
The last two years alone have seen a slew of new Sudanese films come out—with a few even scoring awards. We’ve rounded up our favorites for you.
Mohamed Kordofani’s Goodbye Julia, a story about a guilt-ridden retired singer from the north who seeks redemption for causing the death of a southern man by hiring his oblivious wife as her maid, made history as the first Sudanese film to screen at the Cannes Film Festival. The forthcoming movie, starring Eiman Yousif, South Sudanese supermodel Siran Riak, who is making her acting debut in the film, Sudanese actor Nazar Goma, and well-known South Sudanese actress Ger Duani, will make its premiere in the Un Certain Regard section at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, taking place from 16 – 27 May 2023.
You Will Die at Twenty
No Sudanese film has made nearly as much award buzz in recent years as You Will Die at Twenty. The film won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award at Venice Film Festival, the Golden Star at El Gouna Film Festival, and Best Screen Play at Carthage Film Festival—and for good reason. The film tells the story of Muzamil, a young boy whose life was predicted to end at age 20 by his village’s holy man.
Talking About Trees
Directed by Suhaib Gasmelbari, Talking About Trees was at the receiving end of major awards upon its release, scoring the Documentary Award at Berlin International Film Festival, and the Golden Star Award at El Gouna Film Festival. The film follows a collective called the ‘Sudanese Film Club’, which is made up of four older Sudanese filmmakers on a mission to revive an old, run-down cinema.
Cinema in Sudan: Conversation with Gadalla Gubara
If you’re looking to learn more about Sudanese cinema, this documentary is a great start. The film is a portrait of Gadalla Gubara, Sudan’s premier filmmaker, and a pioneer of cinema in the African continent.
Directed by Sudanese filmmaker Mohamed Kordofani, the 2016 film Nyerkuk is centred on the story of a young boy named Adam, after his father is killed in an airstrike, the young boy finds no choice but to commit himself to a life of crime.
Written and directed by Hajooj Kuka, Akasha first premiered at Venice Film Festival in 2018. The comedy-drama tells the story of Adnan, a revolutionary solider who professes his love for his AK-47, only for his girlfriend to grow jealous of the man’s relationship with his gun.