8

FRIDAY

Other films have shown the Euro-American aspect of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but Adanggaman is a rare look at the African side of that infamous transaction. The harrowing 2000 drama is named not for its hero, a man who is captured by ruthless Amazon raiders, but for its villain: a 17th-century West African king who considers all people within his reach to be his property—whether to keep or to sell. Protagonist Ossei manages to escape Adanggaman’s clutches, and even find an unlikely ally, but eventually he comes to realize that there is no refuge from the king’s greed and brutality. Director Roger Gnoan M’Bala’s film was made on a low budget with an unshapely script, but its evocation of absolute power—and absolute powerlessness—is potent and disturbing. Howard University literature and film professor Mbye Cham will introduce and discuss the film at 7 p.m. at the National Museum of African Art’s Lecture Hall, Level 2, 950 Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 357-4600. (Mark Jenkins)