Aristotle's Plot

on September 13, 1996 by Craig Vickers
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Jean-Pierre Bekolo was invited to make Africa's entry for a British Film Institute series commemorating the centenary of cinema, and this French/Zimbabwean co-production is the result. Rather than make a straightforward documentary, Bekolo opts for a postmodern hybrid of satire and fantasy that evokes Jean-Luc Godard.
"Aristotle's Plot" is an often puzzling, sometimes entertaining and occasionally delightful film, but moviegoers might find a working knowledge of African cinema necessary.
The story: A group of trash-talking, would-be gangsters sporting names such as Van Damme and Bruce Lee hang out at their local moviehouse. A serious cineaste tries to enlist them in his cause to replace Hollywood fare with native productions. When they resist, he becomes a kind of vigilante.
The film is mostly a series of contradictory ideas about cinema, which Bekolo dramatizes playfully and often satirically. The photography is striking, and the film is challenging, but confusion will reign for all but art-house audiences. Starring Seputla Sebogohi and Albee Lesotho. Directed and written by Jean-Pierre Bekolo. Produced by Jacques Bidou. A JBA production; no distributor set. Drama. French-language; English subtitles. Not yet rated. Running time: 72 min.
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