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AFRICAN CINEMA A Primer. AFRICAN CINEMA  Nollywood vs. “Parallel” African Cinema  i.e., Commercial vs. Art/Parallel Cinema (borrowing the term “parallel”

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Presentation on theme: "AFRICAN CINEMA A Primer. AFRICAN CINEMA  Nollywood vs. “Parallel” African Cinema  i.e., Commercial vs. Art/Parallel Cinema (borrowing the term “parallel”"— Presentation transcript:

1 AFRICAN CINEMA A Primer

2 AFRICAN CINEMA  Nollywood vs. “Parallel” African Cinema  i.e., Commercial vs. Art/Parallel Cinema (borrowing the term “parallel” from Indian cinema)  Nollywood:  Nigerian commercial film industry  Mostly Anglophone, with some indigenous languages used  By far the biggest African film industry; Second-largest film industry in the world, after India, in terms of number of feature released (~200 per month)  Shot on video (at first, tape...now, direct to drives)  Distributed on video—no theatrical release, direct to home on disc  Films are shot quickly and cheaply  Content emphasizes supposedly “authentic” Nigerian issues, including the intersection of indigenous cultural heritage elements such as witchcraft (juju) or voodoo, and religion (Christianity and/or Islam)  See the documentaries Welcome to Nollywood (2007) and Nollywood Babylon (2008)

3 AFRICAN CINEMA  “Parallel” African Cinema  Anglophone:  Colonial Office of the British Film Institute created the Bantu Educational Cinema Experiment in present-day Tanzania in 1935, with a goal of educating Africans (e.g., Post Office, Savings Bank); ended in 1937  British set up the Colonial Film Unit in 1939 with branches across Anglophone Africa; the immediate goal was to encourage African participation in WWII, according to Jean Rouch  Spurred by a report to UNESCO by John Grierson, the CFU established a film school in Gold Coast (Ghana) in 1949  CFU involvement in Africa ended around 1955, as British African colonies achieved independence  Nigeria’s film industry was an indirect offshoot of this (e.g., the CFU left behind 16mm film equipment)

4 AFRICAN CINEMA  “Parallel” African Cinema  Francophone:  The Laval Decree of 1934 limited African involvement in films made by the French in Africa (to limit subversive content)  In the 1950’s, documentarist Jean Rouche’s work in Niger and Ivory Coast demystified film for Africans  Filmmaking was subsequently fostered by the French, via the French Ministry of Cooperation (the cinema division was headed by Jean-Rene Debrix, who described himself as a student of Abel Gance); the Cooperation operated either as front-end producer, or as post-production distributor (e.g., Sembene’s La Noire de... ) of African films  The Cooperation is viewed as a “neo-colonialist tool” by some historians  Through the 1970s, 80% of African films were Francophone  The real setup to these systems of film influence by Europeans was the imperialistic “Scramble of Africa” in 1884; at a meeting in Berlin, European nations met to carve up the continent of Africa (they had a “duty” to civilize Africans):

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7 “PARALLEL” AFRICAN CINEMA  Three Francophone nations will be examined:  Senegal  National monetary support, but no national cinema production facilities  Mali  In 1961, the government set up a Centre Malien de Cinema for the “political education of the citizen and the worker”; Joris Ivens was invited to make an educational film  Burkina Faso  Substantial government support...a national cinema...with private film companies springing up in the late 1990s

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9 SENEGAL  Ousmane Sembene ( )  “The Father of African Film”  Key films:  La Noire de... (Black Girl) (1966) La Noire de...  Turned down for pre-funding by the French Cooperation because of its pseudo-slavery theme  Faat Kiné (2000)  Looks at the place of women in post-colonial Senegal  Moolaadé (2004) Moolaadé  Focus on female genital mutilation

10 SENEGAL  Djibril Diop Mambéty ( )  Worked experimentally, with non-linear narratives  Key films:  Touki Bouki (1973) Touki Bouki  A cowherd with a motorcycle and a student attempt to go to Paris; extremely French New Wave-y  Hyènes (1992) Hyènes  An adaptation of Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s The Visit

11 MALI  Manthia Diawara (1953- )  Scholar and filmmaker, professor at NYU  BOOK: African Cinema: Politics and Culture (1992)  FILM: Sembene: The Making of African Cinema (1994)

12 MALI  Souleymane Cissé (1940- )  Yeelen (1987)—Warning!! Animal harmed. Yeelen  A 13 th -century tale based on a Bambara legend, an heroic quest

13 BURKINA FASO  Idrissa Ouedraogo (1954- )  Tilai (The Law) (1990) Tilai (The Law)  Intense tale of family conflict  Lumiere & Company (segment) (1995) Lumiere & Company (segment)

14 BURKINA FASO  Gaston Kabore (1951- )  Zan Boko (1988)—Full film only…see beginning, Zan Boko and 6:00 in, part 3  The story of a simple farmer who resists, and then must deal with, encroaching urbanization  Lumiere & Company (segment) (1995) Lumiere & Company (segment)

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