- African cinema
The term African cinema usually refers to the film production in countries in
Sub-Saharan AfricaFact|date=January 2008following formal independence, which for many countries happened in the 1960s. Some of the countries which belong geographically to Africa ( Egypt, for example) had developed a national film industry much earlier. Often, "African Cinema" also includes African directors living in the diaspora.
Film during the colonial era
During the colonial era, Africa was represented in cinema by Western filmmakers. The continent was represented as being without history or culture. Examples of cinema about Africa shot during the colonial era include jungle epics such as
Tarzanand The African Queen, and various adaptations of H. Rider Haggard's 1885 novel titled King Solomon's Mines.cite journal | author=Murphy, David| title=Africans Filming Africa: Questioning Theories of an Authentic African Cinema| journal=Journal of African Cultural Studies| year=2000| volume=13| issue=2| url=http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=1369-6815%28200012%2913%3A2%3C239%3AAFAQTO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-4| pages=239–249| doi=10.1080/713674315] As with many African writers, for example Chinua Achebe, repudiating stereotypes and images about Africa and Africans was an important motivation for many African film makers.
In the French colonies, filmmaking was formally forbidden to Africans. The first francophone African film, "L’Afrique sur Seine" by
Paulin Soumanou Vieyra, was actually shot in Paris in 1955.
Before independence, only a few anti-colonial films were produced. Examples of this include "Les statues meurent aussi" by
Chris Markerand Alain Resnaisabout European robbery of African art (which was banned by the French for 10 years), or "Afrique 50" by René Vauthierabout anti-colonial riots in Cote D'Ivoireand in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso).
Many of the
ethnographicfilms produced in the colonial era by Jean Rouchand others were rejected by African film makers because in their view they distorted African realities.
1960s and 70s
The first African film to win international recognition was
Ousmane Sembène's "La Noire de..." also known as "Black Girl". It showed the despair of an African woman who has to work as a maid in France. The writer Sembène had turned to cinema to reach a wider audience. He is still considered to be the 'father' of African Cinema. Sembène's native country Senegalcontinued to be the most important place of African film production for more than a decade.
With the of the African film festival
FESPACOin Burkina Fasoin 1969, African film created its own forum. FESPACO now takes place every two years in alternation with the film festival Carthagoin ( Tunisia).
The Federation of African Filmmakers (FEPACI) was formed in 1969 in order to focus attention on the promotion of African film industries in terms of production, distribution and exhibition. From its inception, FEPACI was seen as a critical partner organization to the OAU, now the AU. FEPACI looks at the role of film in the politico-economic and cultural development of African states and the continent as a whole.
Med Hondo's " O soleil O", shot in 1969, was immediately recognized. Politically not less engaged then Sembène, he chose a more controversial filmic language to show what it means to be a stranger in France with the 'wrong' skin colour. Djibril Diop Mambéty's sophisticated comedy "Touki-Bouki" (1973), about a young couple in Dakar who want to make a trip to Paris at all costs, is still considered one of the best African films ever made.
1980s and beyond
Souleymane Cissé's "Yeelen" (Mali 1987) and Cheick Oumar Sissoko's "Guimba" (Mali 1995) were well received in the west. Some critics criticized the filmmakers for adapting to the exotic tastes of western audiences
Many films of the 1990s, e.g. "Quartier Mozart" by Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Cameroon 1992), are situated in the globalized African metropolis.
African Film Summittook place in South Africa in 2006. It was followed by FEPACI 9th Congress.
Production and reception
African film makers often have difficulty accessing African audiences. The commercial cinemas in Africa often have to book blindly and show primarily Hollywood or
Bollywoodfilms. However, there are still limited venues where African audiences have access to African films, e.g. at the Panafrican film festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Most African filmmakers still rely heavily on European institutions for financing and producing their films. A commercially viable video production has been set up in Nigeria, colloquially known as Nollywood.
The political approach of African film makers is clearly evident in the
Charte du cinéaste africain(Charta of the African cinéaste) which the union of African film makers FEPACIadopted in Algiersin 1975.
The filmmakers start by recalling the neocolonial condition of African societies. "The situation contemporary African societies live in is one in which they are dominated on several levels: politically, economically and culturally."Fact|date=July 2008 African filmmakers stressed their solidarity with progressive filmmakers in other parts of the world. African cinema is often seen a part of
In the words of
Souleymane Cissé: "African filmmakers' first task is to show that people here are human beings and to help people discover the African values that can be of service to others. The following generation will branch out into other aspects of film. Our duty is to make people understand that white people have lied through their images." (Thackway, p. 39)
Some African filmmakers, e.g. Ousmane Sembène, try to give back African history to African people by remembering the resistance to European and Islamic domination.
The role of the African filmmaker is often compared to traditional
Griots. Like them their task is to express and reflect communal experiences. Patterns of African oral literature often recur in African films. African film has also been influenced by traditions from other continents such as Italian neorealism, Brazilian Cinema Novoand the theatre of Bertolt Brecht.
Ethnologist and filmmaker
Safi Fayewas the first African women film director to gain international recognition.
Sarah Maldororhad shot her film "Sambizanga" about the 1961-1974 war in Angola. Surviving African women of this war are the subject of the Documentary "Les oubliées" (The forgotten), made by Anne-Laure Follytwo hundred and twenty years later.
Directors by country
Sarah Maldoror, Zeze Gamboa
Jean Odoutan, Idrissou Mora Kpai
Idrissa Ouedraogo, Gaston Kaboré, Dani Kouyaté, Fanta Régina Nacro, Apolline Traore, Orissa Touré, Pierre Yameogo, Sanou Kollo, Pierre Ruamba
Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Bassek Ba Kobhio, Jean-Pierre Dikongue, Jean-Marie Teno, François Woukoache
Fernando Vendrell, Francisco Manso
*Central African Republic:
Issa Serge Coelo, Mahamat Saleh Haroun
Desiré Ecaré, Fadika Kramo Lancine, Roger Gnoan M'Bala, Jacques Trabi
*Democratic Republic of Congo:
Mweze Ngangura, Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda, Joseph Kumbela, Zeka Laplaine
Salah Abu Seif, Youssef Chahine, Yousry Nasrallah, Ezzel Dine Zulficar, Sherif Arafa, Tarek Al Erian, Atef El Tayeb, Khaled Youssef, Ali Badrakhan, Dawood Abdel Said, Magdy Ahmed Ali, Marwan Hamed, Amr Arafa, Barakat, Ehab Mamdouh, Sandra Nashat, Enas El Deghedy, Adel Adeeb, Mohamed Khan, Ehab Lamey, Shady Abdel Salam, Hala Khaleel, Khairy Beshara, Ali Ragab, Hady El Bagoury, Radwan El Kashef, Ashraf Fahmy, Samir Seif, Ali Abdel Khaleq, Nader Galal
Kwaw Ansah, King Ampaw, John Akronfrah, Fara Awindor
David Achkar, Gahité Fofana, Mohamed Camara
Souleymane Cissé, Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Abdoulaye Ascofare, Adama Drabo
Med Hondo, Abderrahmane Sissako, Sidney Sokhana
Ola Balogun, Eddie Ugboma, Amaka Igwe, Zeb Ejiro, Lola Fani-Kayode, Bayo Awala, Izu Ojukwu, Greg Fiberesima, Tunde kelaniJide Bello
*Kenya: Judy Kibinge,
Jane Munene, Anne Mungai
Ousmane Sembène, Paulin Soumarou Vieyra, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Moussa Sene Absa, Safi Faye, Ababacar Samb-Makhbaram, Ben Diogaye Beye, Clarence Delgado, Ahmadou Diallo, Bouna Medoune Seye, Moussa Touré, Mansour Sora Wade, Samba Félix Ndiaye
*Somalia: Abdisalam Aato
Anne Laure Folly
Lionel Ngakane, Seipati Bulani-Hopa, Mickey Dube, Gavin Hood, Zola Maseko, Sechaba Morejele, Morabane Modise, Teddy Matthera
M.K. Asante, Jr.
Films about African cinema
*"Caméra d’Afrique", Director:
Férid Boughedir, Tunesia/France 1983
*"Les Fespakistes", Directors: François Kotlarski, Eric Münch, Burkina Faso/France 2001
This is Nollywood"
*Olivier Barlet, "African Cinemas : decolonizing the gaze", Zed Books, London, 2001
*Fernando E. Solanas, Octavio Getino, "Towards a Third Cinema" in: Bill Nichols (ed.), "Movies and Methods. An Anthology", University of California Press 1976, pp. 44-64
*Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike, "Black African Cinema", University of California Press 1994
*Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike, "Questioning African Cinema: Conversations with Filmmakers", University of Minnesota Press 2002, ISBN 0-8166-4005-X
*Melissa Thackway, "Africa Shoots Back: Alternative Perspectives in Sub-Saharan Francophone African Film", Indiana University Press 2003, Includes a comprehensive bibliography and a select filmografy
*Africultures : see www.africultures.com (French and English)
*Samuel Lelievre (ed.),"Cinémas africains, une oasis dans le désert ?", "CinémAction" no 106, Paris, Télérama/Corlet, 1st trimester 2003
*Écrans d’Afriques (1992-1998) - French and English - to read on www.africine.org or www.africultures.com
List of African films
* [http://www.africine.org/ Africiné - AFCC (African Federation of Film Critics)]
* [http://www.allafricanmovies.com Allafricanmovies.com] Very Large African Cinema & Movies selection
* [http://www.africanholocaust.net/news_ah/panafricancinema.htm The Heavy Flag of Pan-African Cinema]
* [http://www.africultures.com/ Africultures]
* [http://www.nigeriamovies.net/ Nigerian Movies]
* [http://www.harvardfilmarchive.org/gallery/mcmillan.php Harvard Film Archive]
* [http://www.utoronto.ca/innis/library/africanfilm.html African Cinema]
* [http://web.africa.ufl.edu/asq/v2/v2i1a4.htm African Cinema in the 1990s]
* [http://www.ngsw.org/~afrmedia/index.php African Media Program] Comprehensive database of African media
* [http://www.newsreel.org/] Library of African Cinema in California
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