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Directory of World Cinema : Africa (Vol 30) (Paperback)
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This book intends to by-pass the postcolonial obsession that often permeates books published in the West on African cinema, as though Africa could only define itself in relation to the colonisers. The book looks at African film as representing Africa for its own sake, its values and artistic choices.
Classification by genres, such as it is practised on commercial sites for selling DVDs, does not favour African cinemas. Categories restrict the multiple levels of African films. African directors do not have the luxury of producing comedies, thrillers, horror films or even love stories by the dozen per year, except perhaps as videos/DVDs that do not travel far outside their country of production. African Directors tend to keep to serious, socio-political ground, even under the cover of comedy, perhaps thereby hoping to find funds outside Africa.
Chapter headings will address the changing public sphere, Africans at work (including the rapport to money and the economic role of women), multiple aspects of migration (rural exodus, economic migration, refugees, diasporas), culture and religion, magic (belief in supernatural forces), representation of children, the use of music, the choice of languages, symbolic representation. The films from the different linguistic regions would be entered under these headings, rather than have three parts on francophone, lusophone, anglophone sub-regions or four parts if we consider the arabophone countries of the continent.
The thematic classification will include transnational contributions, for example, in the Great Lakes regions, films in Swahili reach many countries that may not have another language in common, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania or Malawi.
With a film industry divided by linguistic heritage, African directors do not have the luxury of producing comedies, thrillers, horror films, or even love stories, except perhaps as DVDs that do not travel far outside their country of production. Instead, African directors tend to cover serious sociopolitical ground, even under the cover of comedy, in the hopes of finding funds outside Africa. Contributors to this volume draw on filmic representations of the continent to consider the economic role of women, rural exodus, economic migration, refugees, and diasporas, culture, religion, and magic as well as representations of children, music, languages, and symbols.
A survey of national cinemas in one volume, Directory of World Cinema: Africa is a necessary addition to the bookshelf of any cinephile and world traveler.