In its fourth year, the Matatu Festival is showing signs of adolescent rebellion. The four-day art festival — named after a minibus widely used in Kenya — made its reputation as a mecca of art, film, and music celebrating the cultural richness of Africa and the African diaspora. But select curatorial choices suggest Matatu is looking beyond the horizon; films such as A Syrian Love Story
and The Living Need Light, the Dead Need Music
take place in Syria and Vietnam respectively with non-African protagonists. The films focus on themes such as love amid war and festivities amid death — cultural points that organizers feel draw parallels to the modern African and African diasporic experiences. That’s not to say the usual suspects aren’t present in the programming: Films such as Too Black to Be French
and Black Code / Code Noir
focus on discrimination and violence against Blacks in France and America respectively. And on the performance end, dancers from the Alonzo King Lines Ballet will be back this year for another stunning, stripped down recital. The festival starts on Wednesday, October 12 and runs through Saturday, October 15. Most events take place at Starline Social Club in Oakland, with some programming at the Grand Lake Theatre and the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.