also produced feature films and became the focus for the project to nationalize film production in 1964. By 1969 the Office National pour le Commerce et l'Industrie Cinématographique (ONCIC) had acquired a monopoly of importation and distribution as well as production.
Because of this state control, there is a remarkable homogeneity about early Algerian production. The first wave of films produced reflected the liberation struggle: the compilation film Fajr al-mu'adhdhibin ( The Dawn of the Damned, 1965) by Ahmed Rachedi, and the fictionalized account of the struggle Rih al-Awras ( The Wind from the Aures, 1966) by Mohamed Lakhdar Hamina. Both directors went on to reshape the narrative of liberation for a popular audience, Rachedi with Al-afyun wal-õasa ( The Opium and the Baton, 1969) and Lakhdar Hamina with December ( 1972) and, especially, his epic production Waga'i' sinin al-jamr ( Chronicle of the Years of Embers, 1975). In 1972 a series of films on rural reform was initiated, beginning with Al- fahham ( The Charcoal Burner), the first feature of Mohamed Bouamari. But already by the late 1970s more diverse individual voices came to be heard. Merzak Allouache made a number of highly distinctive features beginning with Omar Gatlato ( 1976), and Mahmoud Zemmouri later turned a cynical eye on the politics of revolution in The Mad Years of the Twist ( 1983). Assia Djebbar, a novelist turned film-maker, brought a particular feminine vision to filmmaking with The Nouba of the Women of Mont Chenoua ( 1978) and Zerda wa aghanial-nisyani ( The Zerda and the Songs of Forgetfulness, 1982). But by the mid-1980s the state monopoly had been broken up and even the pioneers offered idiosyncratic productions, among them Rachedi's Tahunat al-sayyid Fabre ( The Mill of M. Fabre, 1982) and Bouamari's Al- raft ( The Refusal, 1982).
In Tunisia the State had no such clear initial objectives as in Algeria, but there is a strong film culture, witnessed by the Arab film festival, the Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage, which has been held biennially in Tunis since 1968 and forms an important focus for Arab cinema. Output in Tunisia is largely the work of dedicated individualists, such as the self-taught Omar Khlifi who came to the fore with a number of action films in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Abdellatif Ben Ammar made a trio of distinctive features: Such a Simple Story ( 1970), Sejnane ( 1973), and Aziza ( 1980). Later Nouri Bouzid established a quite distinctive and controversial voice in Arab cinema with Rih al-sadd ( Man of Ashes, 1986), Safaith min dhahab ( Golden Horseshoes, 1989), and Beznes ( 1992), while the welt known critic Ferid Boughedir made an equally personal first fiction film, Halfaouine ( 1990).
Output in Morocco shows a similar mix. On the one hand those who seek commercial success, like Souhel Ben Barka who followed his excellent début film, Alf yad wa yad ( Thousand and One Hands, 1972), with less controlled co-productions such as his Garcïa Lorca adaptation Urs ad-dam ( Blood Wedding, 1977) and a confused view of South African politics, Amok ( 1982). On the other hand. Moumen Smihi has been consistently concerned with the expression of a specifically Moroccan reality and with formal innovation in El chergui ( 1975), Forty-four, or Bedtime Stories ( 1982), and Quftan al-hubb ( Caftan of Love, 1988) Equally innovative have been the exploratory works of Hamid Benani -- Wechma ( Traces, 1970) -- and Ahmed Bou anani -- Le Mirage ( 1980).
In general the cinema of the Maghreb countries is not a popular cinema on the Egyptian model, and Maghrebi films receive more showings at foreign festivals than in local cinemas. Nevertheless they are evidence of the con tinuing vitality and variety of Arab cinema.
Berrah, Mouny, Lévy, Jacques, and Cluny, Claude-Michel (eds.) ( 1987), Les Cinémas arabes.
Cinema dei paesi arabi ( 1976), 'Pesaro: Mostra internazionale del nuovo cinema'.
Malkmus, Lizbeth, and Armes, Roy ( 1991), Arab and African Film Making.
P. VINCENT MAGOMBE
Cinema as a form of entertainment has been in existence in Africa for over eighty-five years. The first films to be shown were documentaries originating from Europe and America. These were subsequently supplemented by films produced by the infamous Colonial Film Units and such short-lived projects such as the 'Bantu Cinema Film Projects'.
These colonial structures for cinema production and distribution have been criticized for their role in enhaning the forceful imposition of western ways, and the systematic dismantling of indigenous African cultures and traditions. Although a handful of their productions promoted modernization in a way sympathetic to African interests, the overall role of the Colonial Film Unite has been aptly summed up by African film historian Manthia Diawara ( 1992) in negative terms. The CFUs, he writes