Films and Videos Produced by
Third World Filmmakers

First Run / Icarus Films
153 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014
Tel: (212) 727 1711; (800) 876 1710; FAX: (212) 989 7649


A Series produced by South Productions & Channel 4 Televison (UK)

A substantial portion of First Run/Icarus Films' collection has always been comprised of works focused on issues in the developing world. In this catalog, we are pleased to present a number of these outstanding films and videos, including the series asse mbled under the collective name SOUTH.

Produced by South Productions & Channel 4 Television (UK), SOUTH is a groundbreaking anthology of works created by film and video makers from Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Including documentary and fictional films, a nimation and experimental video, the programs cover a wide range of subjects and issues, reflecting the concerns of the Third World as seen by people from within it. SOUTH marks the first and most significant collection ever assembled for the purpose of bringing non-western voices to the west. And as the planet continues to grow smaller, these perspectives become increasingly significant to global audiences.

Divided into four geographic areas, each section of this catalog highlights the videos which are part of SOUTH. Other notable and informative programs about these regions are also described, including 10 new releases acquired since the publication of our current comprehensive catalog. If you would like a free copy of that catalog, which contains more titles about the Third World, or if you have questions about the programs in this offering, please write or call.

To our old friends, we appreciate the continued interest you have shown in First Run/Icarus Films, and the opportunities it has provided us to make these informative programs available to your students and other audiences. For those to whom we are new, w e hope this catalog will serve as an introduction to the resources available through First Run/Icarus Films. We look forward to hearing from all of you soon.

"The issue being discussed is the political and economic South, not the geographical South. The countries involved are those which have no real power in determining their own future, and whose political and economic climates have been shaped by Europe and the USA." -- Fast Forward

"The premise behind SOUTH is that the developing world only appears on our screens when there is bad news to tell. The series challenges this convention by giving film-makers from developing countries the chance to set their own agendas." -- The Times (London)



Directed by Bassek Ba Khobio

On May 26, 1990, Cameroon declared itself a multi-party democracy after 30 years of totalitarian rule. In a country with 200 tribes and as many languages, a colonial heritage of both British and French domination, and a clash between Christian and Mu slim ideologies, the transition has not been easy.

One month into its nascent democracy, Cameroon found itself with 40 political parties. Lacking political sophistication -- for some democracy means stalls at market, for others an end to wife beating -- it has been difficult to mobilize the populace, a p roblem further compounded by the fact that 70% of Cameroonians speak neither English nor French, the nation's official languages.

In this survey, Bassek Ba Khobio looks at his country's current political climate, and gathers the thoughts of Cameroonians from all social strata and economic backgrounds. Through their juxtaposed analyses, a revealing collage of the birth of a uniquely African democracy is presented.

25 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Balufa Bakupa-Kanyinda

Thomas Sankara, the late President of Burkina Faso, emerged as an idealist in a generation of young African leaders more concerned with material wealth. In office, he engineered drastic improvements, from the symbolic change of the country's name fro m the colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso ("The Country of Free and Dignified People"), to providing real health care for the country's children.

On October 15, 1987, Sankara fell prey to violent African politics when he was assassinated by troops loyal to Blaise Campaore, his second in command -- and life long friend.

20 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Licinio Azevedo

A Photograph from the video

In the 1980s, many young people left Mozambique in search of work and better lives in Germany. Once there, they found a land largely hostile to their presence, where they were openly slurred, and where police did not intercede when they saw Mozambicans being beaten.

However, as the inhospitable welcome caused many to repatriate, they often found themselves outsiders in their own homeland. Groups calling themselves "ninjas" are antagonistic towards the returning Mozambicans, who are made to feel as if they are "Europe ans lost in Africa." And they must still face the economic hardships which they fled in the first place.

25 minutes color 1991


Directed by Jean-Marie Teno

Set within the story of a young man who needs an uncooperative public servant's signature to enter college, MR. FOOT is a light hearted look at Cameroon's national obsession -- soccer.

Soccer is Cameroon's elixir. In a country where the populace has not been allowed to participate in politics, soccer has served as the people's primary diversion from life's strains. In fact, during a period of social unrest in 1990, an informal truce w as called so that fans on both sides could follow their national team, the Indomitable Lions, in the World Cup tournament.

In any case, it turns out that Mr. Foot, a hawker of soccer paraphernalia, is the only person with the clout to move the indolent public servant to action.

"A charming, though slightly double edged, fable." -- The Times (London)

20 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Gaston Kabore

A Photograph from the video

Hado Gorgo Leontine is a 60 year old grandmother and farmer in Burkina Faso -- and the leader of a 22 piece touring orchestra. Hado, "discovered" while selling millet beer from a roadside in 1960, sings and dances and leads a troupe consisting musicians, singers, and ten dancers who travel the country performing traditional songs as well as her own compositions.

This charming film simply follows Hado, "an ordinary Mossi woman," as she goes about her business of helping her countryfolk maintain their heritage of music and dance.

13 minutes. Color, 1991



Directed by Manjira Datta

A Photograph from the video

DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS surveys the recent events which led to the current religious strife that is tearing India apart. As it moves from countrysides to cities, university campuses to dusty villages, and from interviews with members of India's backwards castes to campaign trips with Prime Ministerial candidates, this film covers the 20 months following Rajiv Gandhi's ouster in 1989, through his assassination and the violent and chaotic election which followed it.

As it assesses the impact of the short-tenured, unstable, and largely ineffective governments which followed Gandhi's removal, DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS examines the tensions in the strained Indian fabric caused by the political emergence of the lower castes -- who are 52% of the population --, the revival of Hindu fundamentalism -- nurtured by the Indian right wing as an answer to this new threat --, and perceived interference by outside organizations such as the International Monetary Fund. India has also be en under tremendous pressure from the separatist states within, including Punjab, Assam, Kashmir, and Bengal, all of which are demanding greater autonomy, if not absolute independence. As successive governments try to unify a nation torn by communal viol ence, caste battles, and civil strife, the religious zeal of the fundamentalists, now beyond the control of any political party, threatens to end India's existence as a democratic secular state.

While the December 1992 razing of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, focused the world's attention on India's tumult, DEMOCRACY IN INDIA provides the recent history necessary to fully understand its potential impact on this nation of over a billion people.

"India has always been proud of its reputation as the world's largest democracy but does the country still deserve it? This film travels the sub-continent to take stock of a nation riven by communal violence, shaken by independence movements, and left le aderless without Gandhi." -- Time Out (London)

50 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Jugnu Ramaswamy

Motia Khan is a slum in the poorest district of Delhi. It contains some 5000 shacks on a government-owned site which was cleared for redevelopment 20 years ago, but which was squatted before the rebuilding could begin.

This film is about Jagriti, a school for the children of Motia Khan. Interweaving interviews with local politicians and administrators of aid organizations, including OXFAM and UNICEF, with razor sharp satirical sketches of these people performed by the students, JAGRITI reveals the difficulties encountered by the school's founders in its first year of existence.

Although set in India, JAGRITI is a case study of the political roadblocks, red tape, and corruption often encountered by samaritans in poor areas all around the world.

25 minutes color 1991


Directed by Ruchir Joshi

Ahmedabad, in the Gujarat region of India, is a troubled city. Once home to the ideas of Rajiv Gandhi, it has more recently suffered appalling communal violence. In MEMORIES OF MILK CITY, award winning director Ruchir Joshi juxtaposes contemporary im ages -- a small boy peddling ice cream on the street, young men who've gathered to ogle young women -- with verse read by Madhu Rye to create a powerful but elegant lament to the city that once was.

"Nothing could be further from the routine documentary than the vivid originality of Joshi's poetic portrait of cows and ice-cream in the streets of Ahmedabad." -- Guardian (London)

"A quick dip into the bran tub of life as lived in the city of Ahmedabad, where sacred cows wander freely in shopping malls." --Time Out (London)

10 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Nighat Said Khan

In 1989, Nafisa Hoodbhoy, a journalist, investigated the rapes of three on duty nurses in a hospital. One of the nurses was jailed, while the attackers were never tried. Since Hoodbhoy reported the story, two attempts have been made on her life.

ISLAM AND FEMINISM examines the inequities in Pakistan's Islamic law, which does not distinguish among rape, adultery, and "fornication." Under this law, a woman and a man arrested for fornicating were sentenced to 100 lashes and death by stoning. In Pa kistani courts, the testimony of two women is valued as equal to that of one man. And, although some of Pakistan's most prominent leaders are women, a rape victim can be charged under Islamic law with having had extramarital sex.

This report examines these contradictions, and introduces the efforts of such organizations as the urban Women's Action Forum and the rural Sindihani Tahreeq to battle the severe discrimination which Pakistani women, as women in many Islamic countries, mu st endure.

25 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Nimal & Ranjani Mendis

A Photograph from the video

In 1956, on the crest of a surge of Sinhala nationalism, Sri Lanka adopted Sinhalese as its official language. This event became the catalyst of a violent struggle, now almost four decades old.

Once the "Pearl of the Indian Ocean," modern Sri Lanka has become the battleground for a civil war waged by Tamil, Sinhala, and Muslim groups, especially in the north and east. This conflict led to the kidnap and murder in 1990 of Richard De Zoysa, a liberal journalist who reported on human rights abuses. The notoriety surrounding De Zoysa's killing meant world attention for Sri Lanka, and the women's groups -- whose numbers include De Zoysa's mother, Dr. Manorani Saravanamuttu -- which came together to offer support to the victims of violence.

In THE SHATTERED PEARL, husband and wife filmmakers Nimal and Ranjani Mendis report on the war, the human rights abuses, and the women who continue to struggle for justice and peace.

25 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Yang Shu

China is a land of 370 million bicycles. Its 600 bicycle factories manufacture 41 million more every year.

In this lyrical portrait, scenes of bicycles being used to transport huge earthenware urns and bamboo cabinets to market, to haul timber to construction sights, and to simply get from place to place are interspersed with the observations of artist Yi Ling , who spent 4 1/2 years cycling around China's perimeter. He notes that while foreigners may use bicycles for fun, they are essential to the livelihood of many Chinese.

Beautifully photographed, SONG OF THE BICYCLE is an oddly insightful look at the divide in Chinese and Western lifestyles as manifested in the simple use of bicycles.

"Conveys the resourcefulness which, throughout the Third World, is perhaps the quality which sets people apart from the products of the industrial world." -- Media Guardian (London)

17 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Tian Zhuang Zhuang

In this survey of current attitudes on Chinese campuses, filmmaker Zhuang interviews Gao Jun, a law student, Cao Yan, a fashion design student, and Yang Lien, who participated in the hunger strikes after the Tiananmen uprising.

While each has hopes for the future, the common thread which runs through their discussions is the continued government repression of individuality or any sense of self worth. Yang believes that the idealism which led to the 1989 rebellion has been effec tively dissipated. She notes that while many felt passionately at the beginning, most have realized that they cannot change society and are dispirited. All three women look abroad for opportunities.

The film closes with a performance of "Sunrise," by the rock musician Wei Hua, written for the students who participated at Tiananmen Square. The song is now banned in China.

26 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Le Trac

In the mid 1980's, after three devastating decades of war and the subsequent U.S. economic sanctions, the Vietnamese government introduced "Doi Moi," a radical shift towards a market economy.

As cutbacks in the state sector contributed to massive unemployment, the government nurtured private enterprise in the hope that such ventures might provide jobs in the troubled nation. THE NEW BOSSES looks at three successful entrepreneurs, who among the m employ several thousand workers, and presents their hopes for -- and fears of -- the government supported entrepreneurship which may be the foundation of Vietnam's future as it rebuilds under the slogan "Renewal to move forward."

13 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Le Trac

A Photograph from the video

This film considers the visibility of ao dai, the traditional Vietnamese tunic dress, as a gauge of Vietnam's prosperity.

Focusing on Trinh, a student at a large Ho Chi Minh City high school, the film explains how short dresses were not only more functional during the war years, but made necessary by an annual cloth ration of two meters. Devastated by the war, the country w as unable to provide enough rice to feed its own people. But rice is now an important export commodity. And the Mekong delta, sight of many bloody battles, is now lush with orchards. Traditional ceremonies and religious rituals are celebrated again as Vietnam experiences a cultural rebirth and renewed interest in its heritage, as best demonstrated by the reemergence of traditional dress.

However, all this is not without cost: Trinh's mother complains that in order for her daughter to dress properly for school, she must own four or five ao dai.

13 minutes. Color. 1991

Latin America & the Caribbean


Directed by Esteban Schroeder, Augusto Gongora, Regina Festa and Fernando Sanatoro

In the 1970s, 15 of South America's 20 nations were military dictatorships. Through the 1980's, most of these were overthrown or otherwise gave way to fragile democracies. LA ESPERANZA INCIERTA looks at the current socio-political climates in four S outh American countries: Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile.

Featuring interviews with heads of state, intellectuals, politicians, journalists, former members of the military regimes, and common people on the streets, this program gives a wide range of peoples' opinions on the future of their nations.

-- In Brazil, where the population is only 40% literate, there may be democracy, but there is no food. A woman states that "at least now we can complain."

-- Uruguay, the smallest South American nation, seems to export people more than anything else. In a population of 3 million, only 500,000 are categorized as youth. Carlos Maggi, a playwright, declares that "now we're a country of moaners."

-- In Argentina, President Carlos Saul Menem warned his people to prepare for "major surgery without anesthesia" as his government attempts to dismantle an economy based on an inefficient and corrupt public sector and move towards privatization. Journali st Horacio Verbitsky calls his nation's economy "remarkable for its scale of failure."

-- And in Chile, President Patricio Aylwin attempts to move his country towards democracy and a free economy -- under the watchful eye of Augusto Pinochet.

The filmmakers state that "We live the crisis of an explosive demographic growth; we still have the scars of recent military pasts. We have an ever-so-strong desire to live, but we also share an uncertain future." Troubling and yet hopeful, LA ESPERANZA INCIERTA is an informative overview of South America today, and tomorrow.

52 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Dolly Pussi

The 1976 military coup dramatically halted the political activities of Argentina's youth. Despite more liberal regimes since, there is still much repression.

SABEMOS MIRAR looks at how rock music has become an outlet for young Argentineans' frustrations. Focusing on a band called Bersuit Bergaravat, the film's subjects speak of their powerlessness, how "being young in Argentina means being a suspect." They t ell of the close police scrutiny of rock shows, but note that if rock music is an "outsider's movement," it must be remembered that tango once must have been as well.

Closing with performances by Bersuit Bergaravat and Mercedes Sosa at a "No to Impunity" rally in Buenos Aires protesting the beating of filmmaker Pino Solanas, the death of Walter Bulacio, and threats against the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, SABEMOS MIRAR re veals much about the political undercurrent driving Argentina's young people.

"Fascinating." -- Time Out

** 1994 Latin American Studies Association Conference

25 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Andres Agusti

A lilting, meandering visual homage to Venezuela's capitol city, Caracas.

Intercutting pictures of statues, buildings, street performers, parks, mountains, roads, roller coasters, and a pickup basketball game, PARQUE CENTRAL communicates the energy and splendor of this bustling metropolis.

11 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Jorge Furtado

"Ordinary people, they have no name," says director Jorge Furtado (ISLE OF FLOWERS). In THIS IS NOT YOUR LIFE, Furtado randomly chooses a Brazilian woman, Noeli Cavalheiro, and lets her tell the world her story.

Noeli's life is not extraordinary. She speaks of her childhood, growing up with godparents after the death of her father, of raiding neighboring tangerine orchards and playing at giving birth with her girlfriends, and of her boyfriends and eventual marri age to a black man, frowned on by those around her. Noeli could easily be just be another demographic statistic, but Furtado's point is that "Numbers have no name, people have a name. Every one has." For those who might find this troubling, Furtado ass ures viewers that there is no need to worry -- this is not your life.

** Best Picture, Best Director, 1991 Gramado Film Festival, Brazil

15 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Pablo Lavin

Employing fictional, documentary, and videographic techniques, MICROCHIP AL CHIP examines the destruction of Chilean forests in order to sustain its paper exports to other nations, notably Japan.

As 10,000 hectares of forest disappear every year, intercut images of barren land, endless acres of logs waiting to be shipped from a timber depot, consumer culture, and disturbing statements from a Chilean forest manager and a Japanese economic minister build into an invective against the loss of an irreplaceable natural resource.

"An angry tirade against Japanese-led destruction of Chilean forests to make paper for fax machines." -- The Times (London)

18 minutes Color. 1991


Directed by Antonio S. Cecilio Neto

A humorous and scathing satire in the style of ISLE OF FLOWERS, WHOLES considers the social ills plaguing Sao Paulo, Brazil, the "sixth or maybe seventh" largest city in the world, through the metaphor of potholes, which may or may not be a problem, i n fact, may or may not exist, depending on who you ask, and therefore may or may not need attention.

"A beautifully shot meditation on urban alienation." -- The Independent (London)

10 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Pablo Basulto

Employing a mixture of video graphics, computer animation, and documentary footage, Basulto uses the metaphor of a disenchanted and lethargic woman to lament the loss of Cuba's revolutionary ideals and fervor.

He complains that in the current consumerist climate, the revolution is reduced to being the subject of postcards -- in a country where the mail doesn't work.

** 1994 Latin American Studies Association Conference

12 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Felix Zurita

A Photograph from the video

This report covers the October 1991 Congress of Indigenous American Peoples held in Guatemala.

A gathering of representatives from both continents, the congress provided a forum for native Americans to express their grievances and to protest the upcoming Columbus quinticentennial. As members of the Quecha of Ecuador, the Aymara of Bolivia, the Maya of Guatemala, and the Cree of Canada speak out, a message of frustration and disillusionment is passed on to the world.

9 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Jorge Denti

Following a brief history of Haiti from Columbus onward, this short documentary recounts the goals and accomplishments of Jean Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas government.

Translated into English as "avalanche," Lavalas meant to bring democracy, land reform, and human rights to Haiti, one among the poorest nations in the world, where four of twenty newborns die within seven days, and another four do not live to see their fi fth birthdays. But on September 29, 1991, 239 days into his new administration, Aristide was overthrown in a coup d'etat led by General Raoul Cedras. As Aristide speaks from exile about his hopes for his country's future, HAITI paints a dually promising and grim picture of this troubled Caribbean nation.

6 minutes Color. 1991


Directed by Karen Martinez

The July 27, 1990 coup attempt in Trinidad and Tobago engineered by the Black Muslim group Jammaat al Muslimeen, took the world by surprise. KAISO FOR JULY 27TH examines the tensions in Trinidadian society which may have led to that action.

In this film, Trinidadians explain the economic hardships suffered by their people as oil prices fell through the 1980s. This depreciation of oil, Trinidad's chief export, led to decreased production, which meant less work, and a 25% to 30% decline in re al income for laborers. Further disillusion was caused by the split of the ruling party in 1986 and burdens placed on the nation by stricter guidelines imposed by the IMF and World Bank. They argue that the Jammaat was not a radical group attempting to seize power, but a manifestation of the people's frustration. Had it not been the Jammaat, they say, it would have been others.

With street scenes and numerous interviews, KAISO FOR JULY 27TH reveals the impact of the coup on this island nation one year later.

23 minutes, Color. 1991

The Middle East


Directed by Karveh Golestan

Opening with a journalist's startling statement that the Islamic revolution is the first since the Renaissance, 400 years ago, to take place outside the sphere of Western thought, RECORDING THE TRUTH goes on to allow Iran's intellectuals, religious le aders, and photojournalists to express their views on the fundamentalist movement.

With testimony from supporters of the revolution and from those who oppose it at great personal risk, this program provides remarkable insight into a belief system where intellectualism is frowned on, where a free press is considered to be the mark of a w eak government, and where Einstein, regardless of his contributions to physics and mathematics, cannot be lauded simply because he is a westerner.

With scores of haunting and often graphic photos taken during the early days of the revolution, the hostage crisis, and the war with Iraq, RECORDING THE TRUTH is an extremely revealing look at a value system which remains largely incomprehensible to most westerners.

25 minutes. Color. 1991


Directed by Heiny Srour

A Photograph from the video

Sheikh Imam Mohammad Ahmad Eissa, born 1918, is famous throughout the Arab world for his folk songs indicting the ruling classes.

Considered the voice of the oppressed, he is banned from state television and radio, and has been imprisoned numerous times, including in 1974 for the occasion of President Nixon's visit. With scenes of Egyptian street life set to his often caustic musica l criticisms of his native Egypt's upper classes, the Sheikh's message is that "If a beautiful thing is suppressed today, it will rise tomorrow."

11 minutes Color. 1991


For a comprehensive catalog describing over 400 titles available from FIRST RUN/ICARUS FILMS, please write or call.

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Email: FRIF@echonyc.com

Rentals: Prices shown are classroom rates, and for one screening only. Inquire for open, public, or multiple showings. Order at least 4 weeks ahead of your desired playdate. Cancellations must be received in writing 2 weeks prior to sche duled playdate. Order on official institutional letterhead, by purchase order, or pay in advance of shipping. Films and videos may be rented only in the formats specified in this offering.

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