Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Review of Maangamizi the Ancient One

I found this review of Maangamizi the Ancient One, very good. It hits the nail on the head about what the film is about. As you know Maangamizi is the first film to be submitted to the Academy Awards by Tanzania.

Maangamizi (the Ancient One)

A film by Martin Mhando, Ron Mulvihill and the Ancestors

Featuring Amandina Lihamba, BarbaraO, Mwanajuma Ali Hassan, Thecla Mjatta, Waigwa Wachira

Review by
Marvin X (El Muhajir)

Maangamizi is a film in the genre of Daughters of the Dust and Sankofa, it even stars Babrara O from Daughters of the Dust. So let's get to point of this film that has won awards at several international film festivals, though few have heard about it.

I have long maintained that before African Americans can heal the trauma of White Supremacy they must make peace with their southern roots, the pain of slavery in all its vicissitudes. This film justifies my thesis that we must indeed come to peace with the terror of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and the rest of the south before we can truly be healed. Whatever the south meant to us or means to us now, we must come to grips with it before we can deal with Mother Africa.

In the film the African American psychiatrist (Barabra O) goes to Tanzania to work in a mental hospital, but she cannot heal the Africans until the Africans come to terms with who she is as long lost daughter and she cannot deal with Africans until she is woman enough to confront the terror of African American oppression, there is a leitmotif of lynching to allow us to see her suffering, even though she is a doctor on a mission to heal her African brothers and sisters.
But she cannot heal her primary patient until the patient understands that the doctor from America is her salvation, not in a medical sense but in a spiritual sense.

After the African sister is traumatized by seeing her father burn her mother to death in a hut, the child refuses to speak until the wise woman Manzamizi (also grandmother) entreats her to connect with her African American sister, that is her salvation.

But as I said above, the African American must heal from the terror of America, not their disconnection with Africa as we are usually told. Supposedly, we cannot heal until we come to terms with our Africanity, but this film flips the script as many revolutionaries and radicals have discovered: we must come to terms with our Americanity in all its vicissitudes. Afterwards, we will have no problem with Africa.

With their attitude of jealousy and envy as expressed in the film, clearly, it is Africans who must adjust to African Americans. The film showed our African brothers and sisters as the playa haters of African Americans, and certainly the star patient had reservations about reconnecting with her African American sister, but this was the point of the film: that until Africans come to terms with African Americans, no healing can come to Africa, even though she has her neo-colonial problems with religion, Western religion, Christianity, the father being so dogmatic and savage that he burns his wife alive because her daughter is supposedly under witchcraft when it is clear the father is a devil under the power of a pseudo-Jesus. What Jesus told him to burn his wife alive in the granary hut?

The most powerful scene is the father in hell begging his daughter for forgiveness. And she forgives him, thus transcending the pseudo-Christianity of her father, to the objection of her wise woman, grandmother, Maanzimizi, who said to hell with the father, let him burn in hell for dissing the ancestors in favor of Christianity.

* * * * *

No comments: