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The Mind And The World

Friday, December 1, 2000
Kafi's Story and Nuba Conversations
Arthur Howes/Amy Hardie Sudan, 1989/ 1999

In 1989, Arthur Howes spent time with the Nuba in Sudan and came to know their peaceful rituals, from prenuptial henna parties to an ancient form of wrestling. Kafi is a young man smitten by love for his new, second bride. Kafi confides his feelings and impressions as he journeys from his mountain village to Khartoum to earn enough money to buy cloth for her dress. It takes him a year. Back home, wife number one is none too happy. That is Kafi's Story (Howes and Hardie, 53 mins). But love could not save Kafi's people from the civil war that in 1989 was just encroaching on their lives. By 1999 and Nuba Conversations (Howes, 55 mins), the Nuba are decimated and scattered to the winds by a militarist/fundamentalist Muslim regime that wants more than their land and cattle: Howes's second film is a devastating, detailed document of genocide. Working clandestinely, Howes tracks down his Nuba friends in camps, in hospitals, in the army, men tortured and broken, women living in mountain caves. It is a far, sad, surreal cry from the image of Kafi gently ironing and folding his lover's dress. (JB)

• (Total running time: 108 mins, Color, 16mm, Video, From Arthur Howes)