Guide to African Cinema

Guide to African Cinema

Guide to African Cinema

Guide to African Cinema

Synopsis

Intended as a guide to the filmmakers and films of the African cinema, this reference book also provides the framework for understanding the history and development of African film with respect to its situation in world cinema. The goals and achievements of African film are studied with respect to the forces that impact it, such as colonialism and racism. The importance of the creative efforts of African filmmakers and the diversity of their approaches to cinema are explored. Examined as well are the views of Africa presented by European colonial filmmakers, views often contested in contemporary African film. The listings include critical analysis, bio-bibliography, and filmographies. Both Saharan and sub-Saharan films are included.

As an important reference to African film, the information outlined is valuable due to the current lack of researched data on African cinema, in part as a result of postcolonial attitudes on production and distribution. The book concentrates on films and directors who work toward defining a unique, African perspective without compromising thematic concerns due to commercial considerations. The research detailed in this text should encourage a wider appreciation of the film work being done in Africa, especially to those without the benefit of access to specialized libraries and collections.

Excerpt

For the first time, on December 28, 1895, at the Grand Cafe in Paris, France, the inventors of the Cinématographe, Auguste and Louis Lumière, showed a series of eleven two-minute silent shorts to a public of thirtyfive people each paying the high entry fee of one gold Franc. From that moment, a new era had begun, for the Lumière brothers were not only successful in their commercial venture, but they also unknowingly created a new visual medium quickly to become, throughout the world, the halfpopular entertainment, half-sophisticated art of the cinema. Eventually, the contribution of each member of the profession, especially that of the director and performers, took on enormous importance. A century later, the situation remains very much the same.

The purpose of Greenwood’s Reference Guides to the World’s Cinema is to give a representative idea of what each country or region has to offer to the evolution, development, and richness of film. At the same time, because each volume seeks to represent a balance between the interests of the general public and those of students and scholars of the medium, the choices are by necessity selective (although as comprehensive as possible) and often reflect the author’s own idiosyncracies.

André Malraux, the French novelist and essayist, wrote about the cinema and filmmakers: “The desire to build up a world apart and selfcontained, existing in its own right … represents humanization in the deepest, certainly the most enigmatic, sense of the word.” On the other hand, then, every Guide explores this observation by offering discussions, written in a jargon-free style, of the motion-picture art and its practitioners, and on the other provides much-needed information, seldom available . . .

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