One of the reasons I’ve been absent from blogging post-marathon is that I’ve been spending a fair number of hours working with Cindi on editing the video extras for New Yorker’s upcoming DVD of Moolaade, the last film by the great African director Ousmane Sembene. This marks the fifth DVD that I’ve worked on with Cindi and New Yorker (the others include Angelopoulos’ Eternity and a Day, Hong Sang-soo’s Woman Is the Future of Man, and Abdherramane Sissako’s Waiting for Happiness). I haven’t seen too much press about these extras on the web or elsewhere, though I’m glad to see an increasing number of reviewers like Dave Kehr, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Gary Tooze at DVD Beaver and others praise Cindi’s efforts at raising the video transfer, audio and extras quality of New Yorker discs (long a target of derision among discerning DVD enthusiasts).

I’m glad that DVD Talk offered an enthusiastic review of a recent and underpublicized African film, Adanggaman by director Roger Gnoan M’Bala. He singled out for praise the 10 minute video I produced with Cindi and Dr. Fritz Umbach, professor of history at John Jay College in New York:

An informative 10 minute lecture by the occasionally didactic Dr. Fritz Umbach gives some illuminating background information on the historical context and imagery of the film. In fact, I’d recommend watching the documentary before the feature, as it gives away no spoilers and provides in-depth information that only augments understanding the film. There’s also an excellent interview with director Roger Gnoan M’Bala contained in the insert.

Cindi points out that “didactic” as defined in Merriam Webster is “a: designed or intended to teach; b: intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment” and that is certainly the case with this video. It was a pleasure working with Fritz, and I learned a lot about the cultural and economic subtexts behind the Colonial-African slave trade while editing his elucidating introduction to the film. I hope you get a chance to see our work on this disc.