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With the final curtain having recently come down on the tenth Africa International Film Festival, we’ve decided to prolong the celebrations a little longer with a look at some familiar classics that the world’s second-largest continent has been the backdrop to. Nollywood (nickname of the Nigerian film industry) is now a major player, but for many years previously, Hollywood itself had a lot to be thankful for, so here’s our top five.
Spoiler alert: fans of Coming to America may be left scratching their heads…
The Last King of Scotland (2006)
If ever there was a film title that's kind of misleading, this is it. However, don't let that put you off, especially as it contains an indisputable Oscar-winning performance by Forest Whitaker as unhinged Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin. James McEvoy plays the naive young doctor who travels to Africa to volunteer, eventually becoming Amin's personal GP and confidante. Be careful what you wish for...
The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
Based on the true story of a pair of rogue male lions, who wreaked havoc on the workers at the Uganda-Mombasa railway, during a nine-month reign of terror in 1898. Whilst not intended as a genuine horror movie, this is a macabre and disturbing piece to rival anything from the genre. Michael Douglas is on hand in the second half to provide a bit a of light relief, whilst on the trail of the two man-eaters.
Gorillas in the Mist (1988)
If The Ghost and the Darkness put the local wildlife in a somewhat unsympathetic light, this biopic does the complete opposite. The plight of Africa's mountain gorillas, and the struggles of the tragic heroine, conservationist Dian Fossey (Sigourney Weaver), are up there in painstaking detail. Do have a box of tissues at the ready.
The African Queen (1951)
Unlike the others, the last two entrants in this fantastic five are completely fictional, but no less enjoyable for it. This black-and-white classic, starring the dream pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, is the oldest of the bunch by a few decades, with some arguing that it's Bogart's finest hour (or two). If you've yet to see why, keep an eye on the Christmas TV listings.
Jewel of the Nile (1985)
We end with another flick starring Michael Douglas, only this time we head out of the jungle and north to the Sahara for this follow-up to the hugely successful Romancing the Stone. While not quite as good as its predecessor, it still reunites Douglas with Kathleen Turner - not forgetting Danny DeVito tagging along again for the ride - in another comedy gem.
Of course, if you're wondering what's happened to the likes of Born Free, District 9, or even Ernest Goes to Africa, then let us know in the usual place.
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