Author: Dhruba Gupta
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
Even as he locates African Cinema in its historical setting, he opens up the various theoretical questions that have grown around this cinema, e. g. those centring on Africanness, tradition and modernity, the generational clashes, the colonial hangover, the place of women, moratoria choices; and studies the major films an their makers in terms of their responses to an positions on these questions. What emerges in the process is a concise history of African Cinema that does not ignore the distinctiveness of national and individual identities and the economic pressures and constraints, and can till offer brilliant insights into the masterpieces of Sembene, Cisse, Balogun, Ganda, Gerima, Hondo, Mambety, Ouedraogo, Veiyra and Traore.
The mechanical reproductive of physical reality-after centuries of frustrated tentatives - should have once for all freed us from both its narrow, fixed perspective and from the nebulous other-worldliness of art. That was how Kumar Shahani described his expectation from filmmaking in an Indian context. To achieve this kind of freedom through the mechanical reproduction of physical reality , leaving aside for the while the question whether cinema is supposed to serve that purpose alone, was much more difficult in African countries that in or subcontinent, from the marked differences in the colonial histories of the two different spheres of the so-called Third World.
Hence, when in the sixties, Ousmane Sembene said that any kind of filmmaking by an African in an African country is a political act, irrespective of the nature of the film's content, he was making a statement of great significance about filmmaking in Africa at that stage. Since then, African filmmakers have created some extremely powerful images of their own physical reality - images not physical per se. a close study of these images from an Indian perspective could be a useful corrective to the inadequate and often offensive perceptions of Africa so widely current in this country; and a more dependable and better approach to a real understanding of the people and culture of that vast continent, than any effort made through State- level relations with one African country or another.
The Text: Showing and Telling
Problems, Material and Non-material
Appendix: An interview with Ousmane Sembene