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Come Back, Africa

Come Back, Africa (1959)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

100

want to see
User Ratings: 34

My Rating

Movie Info

American documentary producer/director Lionel Rogosin followed up his Oscar-nominated film On the Bowery (1956) with another docudrama about the disenfranchised, Come Back Africa. Lensed for the most part in Johannesburg, the film follows a Zulu family that has been uprooted from its native environs and plunked down in the middle of a strange urban "jungle". Due to the repressiveness of the South African powers-that-were, Rogosin was forced to shoot his film with hidden cameras, then obliged to

Unrated,

Documentary, Drama, Special Interest

Cast

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All Critics (12) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (0) | DVD (2)

"Come Back, Africa" is most effective as an ethnographic documentary, with cinema verite images of white privilege and black poverty.

May 25, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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While the sights and the sounds aren't enough to constitute a great movie in and of themselves, they do result in a fascinating document.

January 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
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Come Back, Africa is a work of amazing grace-and a forgotten treasure.

January 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
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Rogosin was showing a vital culture on the brink, at the moment when it was calcifying into the form it would hold for more than three decades to come.

January 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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Come Back, Africa is a timely and remarkable piece of cinema journalism: a matter-of-fact, horrifying study of life in the black depths of South African society.

June 9, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
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What it lacks in dramatic structure, it makes up in pictorial urgency.

June 9, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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(The film)succeeds simultaneously as activism, as drama, and as a time capsule. It feels like the delicate spell would be broken if a single variable was altered.

March 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

A perfect marriage between art and radical politics.

January 27, 2012 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Miriam Makeba's sensual song performances gives the film a level of vibrancy and passionate energy.

January 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

A solid, affecting artifact of the cruelty of late 1950s South Africa, in which music often makes despair and long-suppressed anger bearable.

January 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Come Back, Africa

"Come Back, Africa" is something of a historical curio. Filmed in secret in Apartheid-era South Africa in 1959, the film follows Zachariah(Zacharia Mgabi), fresh from Zululand, who is looking for work. First, he ends up at a gold mine where he has no experience but receives brief training before being sent into the mines. His intent is to work in Johannesburg where he can establish a home for his family. To such ends, he asks for help from his supervisor but his first job in the city as an in-house servant ends badly.

All of that may be news to those watching in 1959, especially with its references to the African National Congress, and other South African political discussions of the day in response to restrictions on the African population. But to those of us watching in 2012 after the huge amount that has already been written on the subject, there is nothing new here in the movie's episodic structure with its reliance on non-professional actors with occasional musical interludes. Plus, the ending is more than a little sudden.
January 29, 2012
Harlequin68
Walter M.

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