The International Movie Industry

By Gorham Kindem | Go to book overview

8 Senegal

Manthia Diawara


Production in Senegal

Senegal was introduced to film activities as early as 1905, when L'arrivée d'un train en gare de la ciottat and L'arroseur arrose, by the Lumière brothers, were exhibited in Dakar by a French circus group and filmmakers. At the same time, film pioneer Georges Méliès shot short films in Dakar, two of which, Le marche de Dakar and Le cakewalk des nègres du nouveau cirque, can be seen at the Cinémathèque Française.1 Since then, foreign distributors and producers have developed film activities in Africa as a serious industry. The Africans, however, did not participate as conscious history makers in this development of film activities. They remained either as consumers of foreign films or as objects of stereotypical images for commercial and anthropological filmmakers. The situation was worse in Francophone Africa, where the Laval Decree was set against the African participation in decisions concerning films. As Jean Rouch, father of Cinéma Vérité and founder of the Comité du film ethnographique (Ethnographic Film Committee) and the Musée de l'Homme (Anthropological Museum in Paris) saw it, the French were far behind the British and the Belgians in involving their subjects in film activities. Citing Ghana, a former British colony, and Ivory Coast, a former French colony, two countries with comparable economies and populations, Rouch stated that it was a shame that, in 1957, next to Ghana's more than twenty power wagons and 16-mm projectors, Ivory Coast only had an old 16-mm projector that was not even fit for films.2

However, in 1958, in an effort to maintain its assimilationist policy and slow down the independence process in the colonies, the French government ordered the production of films intended for Africans. As is well known to African historians, 1958 was the year in which General de Gaulle himself traveled to Africa to seek the alliance of the Africans of the Communauté française for an upcoming referendum on whether the colonies would con-

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The International Movie Industry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Japan 7
  • 3 - China 22
  • 4 - India 36
  • 5 - Australia 60
  • 6 - Israel 78
  • 7 - Iran 99
  • 8 - Senegal 117
  • 9 - South Africa 140
  • 10 - Hungary 165
  • 11 - Soviet Union/Russia 178
  • 12 - France 195
  • 13 - Germany 206
  • 14 - Italy 223
  • 15 - Great Britain 234
  • 16 - Sweden 247
  • 17 - Brazil 257
  • 18 - Mexico 273
  • 19 - Canada 292
  • 20 - United States 309
  • 21 - Conclusion 331
  • Index 403
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