Maangamizi: The Ancient One, dir. Martin Mhando, Tanzania 2001, 112 min., Swahili with English subtitles, 15
An essential work of Tanzanian cinema, Maangamizi: The Ancient One
explores the breadth of African consciousness and spiritual heritage, serving as a powerful meditation on the toll of displaced history. Collaboratively adapted by Martin Mhando and Ron Mulvihill from a story by Queenae Taylor Mulvihill, the film went virtually undistributed across Tanzania in the 2000s due to red tape, but is now seeing a second life following efforts by a local collective to circulate the film through informal and creative means – and screens here as part of Women’s Stories from the Global South (& To Whom They Belong)
, a season of features highlighting imbalances of power within film cultures.
Dr Asira (BarbaraO), an American doctor, travels to Tanzania for a residency at a psychiatric hospital. She meets Samehe (Amandina Lihamba), a patient whose complete silence and withdrawal troubles everyone she encounters – but through Asira’s healing methods, the women forge a connection that breaches the confines of time, faith and history.