Despite the well-documented difficulties in production, distribution and exhibition that it has faced over the last fifty years, African cinema has managed to establish itself as an innovative and challenging body of filmmaking. This book represents a response to some of the best of those films. It is the first introduction of its kind to an important cross-section of postcolonial African filmmakers from the 1950s to the present. The book brings together ideas from a range of disciplines, film studies, African cultural studies and, in particular, postcolonial studies, to combine the in-depth analysis of individual films and bodies of work by individual directors with a sustained interrogation of these films in relation to important theoretical concepts. It provides both an overview of the director's output to date, and the necessary background to enable readers to achieve a better understanding of the director's choice of subject matter, aesthetic or formal strategies, ideological stance. The book focuses on what might loosely be called the auteur tradition of filmmaking, closely associated with Francophone African cinema, which explicitly views the director as the 'author' of a work of art. The aim is to re-examine the development of the authorial tradition in Africa, as well as the conception of both artist and audience that has underpinned it at various stages over the past fifty years. The works of Youssef Chahine, Ousmane Sembene, Med Hondo, Djibril Diop Mambety, Souleymane Cissé, Flora Gomes, Idrissa Ouédraogo, Moufida Tlatli, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, and Darrell James Roodt are discussed.
masterpiece Le Damier (1997), and, at the time we began
this project, Régina Fanta Nacro, who has since gone on to make the
outstanding feature The Night of Truth (2004). In particular, we
chose to focus on what might loosely be called the auteur tradition
of filmmaking, closely associated with FrancophoneAfricancinema, which
explicitly views the director as the ‘author’ of a work of
art. 2 This authorial conception of