Skip to content

The Best African Films of 2021

Despite the challenges of producing during the pandemic, the African film industry continued to grow this past year and brought some phenomenal content to cinemas and home audiences. With streaming services and viewers hungry for African content, production continued apace and an extraordinarily diverse range of offerings made their way into the world. The debut feature from twin brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri draws from influences as varied as Taiwanese new wave and Italian neorealism to the ethnographic literary tradition of James Joyce’s Dubliners. Less a traditional documentary than a spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar, the ancestral town of Mexican-Ethiopian director Jessica Beshir, Faya Dayi immerses itself – and viewers – in the rituals of khat. Nigerian folklore serves as the basis for Juju Stories, the latest three-part anthology presented by the Surreal 16 Collective, made up of Michael Omonua, Abba Makama and CJ Obasi. The first Tanzanian film to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival is a star-crossed romance set against the backdrop of an impending political revolution.