African film tells of slave trade

February 14, 2002|By Chris Kaltenbach

Adanggaman, Ivory Coast director Roger Gnoan M'Bala's controversial drama of Africans' role in providing human cargo for the European slave trade, is tonight's offering in the film series The African Diaspora II: More Black Cinema from Africa and Beyond.

Set in the late 17th century, M'Bala's film is the story of Ossei, a young man who rebels against his father's wish that he marry into a wealthy family. Determined to follow his own path, Ossei runs away from home.

He soon returns, only to find that his village has been raided by warriors under the rule of Adanggaman, whose forte is enslaving neighboring tribes and selling the people to European slave traders. Ossei finds his father and girlfriend slain, his mother captured. To free her, he must stage a raid on the kingdom of Adanggaman.

Gabe Wardell, who put together the film series for the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Office of Cultural Affairs, says Adanggaman is a good example of his efforts to show films offering viewpoints that aren't part of the standard movie scene.

"Being told from an African point of view, Adanggaman gives us new insights, as Americans, into the origins of the new slave trade," Wardell says. "Because it was made by a black African, it takes race out of the situation in a way that both black Americans and white Americans aren't used to seeing."

The free screening is set for 7:15 p.m. in the Preclinical Teaching Building's Mountcastle Auditorium, 725 N. Wolfe St. Information: 410-955-3363.

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