Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 7


Audience Score

User Ratings: 698
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Movie Info

While visiting an old fortress from the slave-trade era in Ghana, Mona (Oyafunmike Ogunlano) encounters a colorful local character, an elderly mystic going by the name of Sankofa. Mona is a black American model visiting the country for a photo-session. The old man claims to be in contact with spirits, and she is intrigued by this. When she goes to visit him, she suddenly finds herself back in the old slavery days, a slave herself who is captured and shipped to a sugar planation in the American south. There, she has various relationships and adventures in the build-up to participating in a slave revolt. Just as that is getting fully underway, she finds herself back in the present, deeply affected by what has gone before. The old mystic's name is a word in the Akan language which has the complex meaning of "going to the past, remembering it, and with it, turning to the future."


Critic Reviews for Sankofa

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (1)

  • "Sankofa" depicts the appropriation of violence by its victims-and the movie itself is an act of history, a bearing of witness, and a reminder and reinforcement of dignity.

    May 3, 2019 | Full Review…
  • While there's no doubting the sincerity of writer/director Gerima's film, one can't help sensing more than a little déjà vu in his account of the manifest evils of slavery.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • [Gerima's] film is ambitious in its depiction of slavery and accomplished in its visual command, from the bright red scarves of the rebellious slaves to a fire they set in the fields.

    May 20, 2003
  • The exciting thing about Haile Gerima's lush, wide-screen folkloric feature about black slavery is its poetic conviction, backed up by a great deal of filmmaking savvy.

    Oct 16, 2001 | Full Review…
  • The Ethiopian-born Gerima... has brought a distinctive style and an often raw but always authoritative command of his medium to confront the horrors of slavery and its persisting significance, perhaps as no other filmmaker has.

    Feb 14, 2001 | Full Review…
  • Despite its magical framing sequences and flashbacks, Sankofa works best on the level of (often grim) realism.

    Dec 16, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sankofa

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