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Information about AfricanCinema

Published on February 19, 2008

Author: Connor


Colonialism in Africa:  Colonialism in Africa Colonial Power Independence Angola Portugal 1975 Botswana Britain 1966 Burkina Faso France 1960 Congo/Zaïre Belgium 1960 Ghana Britain 1957 Kenya Britain 1963 Mali France 1960 Mozambique Portugal 1976 Nigeria Britain 1960 Senegal France 1960 South Africa Britain 1910/1994* See Josef Guglar, African Film: Re-imagining a continent Anti-colonialist Struggle and Resistance:  Anti-colonialist Struggle and Resistance The history of colonialism is also one of African rebellion, struggle and resistance. Along with armed struggle, writers and intellectuals in Africa and the French Caribbean, were also important figures in anti-colonialist struggles. Influential critics of colonialism include: Aimé Césaire (Martinque) Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal): President of Senegal 1960-1980) Franz Fanon (Martinque) Cinema in Africa:  Cinema in Africa Roy Armes, “The cinema reached Africa at much the same time as it spread across Europe and the United States. There were film shows in Cairo and Alexandria as early as 1896, in Tunis and Fez in 1897, Dakar [Senegal] in 1900 and Lagos in 1903.” The Lumière catalogue of 1905 contains over 50 one-minute films shot in North Africa. See Roy Armes, “Early Cinematic Traditions in Africa,” in Traditions of World Cinema, eds. Linda Badley et. al. African stereotypes in Western Literature and Film:  African stereotypes in Western Literature and Film Savage: uncivilised, godless, but also closer to nature (hence the noble savage), and exotic. Primitive: less intellectually and culturally advanced/ developed than the West (i.e. simple), but also more sexually potent, spiritual, or child-like). The Dark Continent: unenlightened, outside of history, but also the lost world (of possibility). In the news media Africans are invariably represented as victims of famine and war (always tribal warfare rather than the continuing effects of colonialism). Stereotypes of Africans deny Africans the complex, syncretic subjectivities of Western subjects. Keyan Tomaselli, The Cinema of Apartheid (1989):  Keyan Tomaselli, The Cinema of Apartheid (1989) “South Africa’s filmmakers feel that their films lie outside of politics, that they are merely entertainment. But this is not the case. Their class position, their underlying social and cinematic assumptions, their emphasis on commerciality, their Hollywood inspired models, their working ‘within the rules’, and their displacement of actual conditions by imaginary relations which delineate an apartheid view of the world, make their films susceptible to the propagandistic intentions of the state” (11). South African Cinema After Apartheid:  South African Cinema After Apartheid Key Developments: Increased state support for filmmakers through a number of organisations including the National Film and Video Foundation and the Department of Culture. Strengthening of Pan-African filmmakers’ organisations and the creation of more opportunities for co-productions. Fools (Ramadan Suleman, 1998): first major feature film directed by a black South African. Francophone African Cinema:  Francophone African Cinema Afrique sur Seine/ Africa on the Seine (1955): short film made a group of African students in Paris led by Paulin Soumanou Vieyra [from Senegal]. Film production in French-speaking African countries during the first decade of independence is dominated by documentaries and educational films. Early Feature Films: Borom Sarret (Ousmane Sembène, 1963) Le Mandat/The Money Order (Ousmane Sembène, 1968)* Bambara Language (Souleymane Cissé, 1974) * First film in an African language (Wolof) Negritude:  Negritude Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal): President of Senegal 1960-1980) “Anyone who masters the study of African style will be aware that this style dominates all of Africa. It is the expression of its very being. It reveals itself in the gestures of all negro peoples as well as in their arts. It is expressed in their dances as well as in their lifestyles, their political systems and in their very destiny as a people. It lives in their fables, their fairy tales, their legends, their myths.” (1936) Cited in Sembene: Imagining Alternatives in Film and Fiction (2000) Franz Fanon:  Franz Fanon Fanon was an important critic of colonialism who sought , in his early writing, to understand the effects of colonialism on black consciousness (i.e. in psychoanalytic terms.) Black Skins, White Masks (1952) The Wretched of the Earth (1961) Post-colonialism: Issues:  Post-colonialism: Issues When used to refer to the economic and political situation of post-independence, the term post-colonialism has to be used in a way that doesn’t presume a complete break with the colonial past (let alone the restoration of some pre-colonial state of freedom and authenticity). When used to refer to post-colonial subjects and cultures, the terms most often used to describe them are syncretic and hybrid. Three Tendencies in African Cinema:  Three Tendencies in African Cinema Manthia Diawara has identified three tendencies in African Cinema: Social realist narratives that thematise current sociocultural issues. Films of historical confrontation that put into conflict Africans and their European colonisers. Return to the ‘source’ films, which represent the existence of a dynamic African history and culture before colonisation. See Manthia Diawara, African Cinema: Politics and Culture (1992) Social Realist Films (relation to history):  Social Realist Films (relation to history) Often exhibit two types of critique: use a traditional position to criticise certain forms of modernity and link them to neo- colonialism. debunk attempts to romanticise traditional values as pure and original. These two types of critique can co-exist in the same film. Social Realist Films (address to spectators):  Social Realist Films (address to spectators) Manthia Diawara: “The social realist movement draws from existing popular forms such as song and dance, the oral tradition (both literary and rumors), and popular theatre.” (141) Question for Further Discussion :  Question for Further Discussion Manthia Diawara argues that two types of critique can be identified in social realist films: use of a traditional position to criticise certain forms of modernity and link them to neo-colonialism. efforts to debunk attempts to romanticise traditional values as pure and original. How much evidence of these types of critique can you identify in Xala?

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