West African Cinema

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This chapter is dedicated exclusively to the analysis of seven West African films chosen as sample in the task of defining what is peculiarly African in West African cinema. The search to define what is distinctly African in West African cinema, the driving question of this particular research, has been fine tuned to focus specifically on four areas of interest in this particular research: (i) Cinema as a medium of memory; (ii) The narrative peculiarity of West African cinema; (iii) The reception and; (iv) The audience of West African cinema. Having established the textual parameters of this study, defended the choice of area of study and the epic typology of film, as amply argued out in the methodology, this chapter focuses exclusively on…show more content…
In the analysis of the three epic films that will follow, we will come to terms with how effort is being made on screen to bridge the chasm between the past and the present. Returning to the origins, a distinctive feature of African cinema in general as the scholar Manthia Diawara noted, is that penchant in many film makers to piece together images of Africa that is no more (Diawara, 1992, 159-166). Colonialism and globalization have had damming effects on the African identity that has always been subjected to Western or foreign manipulations.These manipulations result in situations in which Africans have little or no powers to define their strong sense of origin and identity (Mayer…show more content…
Sundiata is an epic that has had its fair share of polyvalent textual renditions. Dani Kouyaté’s didactic approach, using a much abridged, skimpy and rudimentary version of the story, aims at a two-track approach of telling the story to contemporary teenagers and also taking note of the reception of that story in the society in which they find themselves. The film, apart from the diegetic and mimetic narration of the story of Sundiata that it so beautifully weaves in a metalepse of seamless flow from fiction to reality, uses the contexts of a family, a school and a social occasion like marriage to demonstrate how the Sundiata story could be received, lived and

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