African Film
Title Details

224 Pages

21.6 x 18.5 cm

65 b/w illus.

Imprint: James Currey

African Film

Re-Imagining a Continent

by Josef Gugler

  • Description
  • Reviews
This is a comprehensive analysis of some of the major films created by film-makers from Africa and the African diaspora.

The directors and films studied here set out to re-image Africa - and offer Western viewers the opportunity to re-imagine the continent and its people. Two additional, very successful films on Africa, one from Hollywood, the otherfrom apartheid South Africa, serve to highlight African directors' altogether different perspectives. The interpretation considers the financial and technical difficulties of African film production, the intended audiences, the constraints on distribution, and critical reception.
The films featured cover a wide range of topics, from new perspectives on Africa prior to the intrusion of the West, to the struggle against colonialism and white minority rule, to post-colonial issues of authoritarian rule, neo-colonialism, corruption, inequality and the condition of the peasantry, with the position of women a recurrent theme. The discussions are accompanied by reproductions of posters, of photos of the directors during the shooting, and film frames illustrating key elements in the analysis. Introductions to the thematic topics provide the historical, cultural, political, and economic context of the films.Four of the films are based on novels, two more on a play or an epic, and the transformation involved in bringing the written page, or the griot's recitation, to the screen receives special attention. Throughout, the discussion extends to other African films and literary works.

North America: Indiana U Press
"...provides a succinct and thoughtful introduction to fifteen of the most widely-known films produced in Africa over the past four decades, including Xala, Keita, Finzan and La Vie est belle. -" James E. Genova, RESEARCH IN AFRICAN LITERATURES
"...not only a great treat for movie fans but a book that will enlarge any reader's horizons. -" Joseph Cuneen, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER
"...the book that many have been waiting for. Josef Gugler has composed a lively and loving handbook for African film aficionados and for those willing to be converted. Erudite without being stuffy, informative without being pedantic, Gugler condenses years of viewing and critiquing films into a dense but accessible compendium of stimulating observations. The format, replete with photos, film frames, reproductions of film posters and intriguing side notes, is extremely attractive. The cover design welcomes readers with the faces of the two smiling children from Yaaba, which Gugler analyzes early and at length. The text is arranged in an orderly manner in six categories, primarily historical, and is preceded by a Table of Contents followed by a briefly annotated list of the main films, humorously entitled '17 films in 17 sentences'. An author's preface is followed by a useful chart of Basic Indicators for African Countries - all countries cited are south of the Sahara with some in this region not included. A simple map provides a further reference for the discussions of films spanning the continent. -" Anne Serafin, AFRICAN RENAISSANCE and INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF AFRICAN STUDIES
"... an easy read, suitable for those in tertiary institutions and the general reader... this study poses a critical and urgent question to African and Africanist scholars about the fate of African arts and cultures in the 21st century in the face of a rapidly globalising world where capitalism and market forces increasingly determine artistic and cultural production and circulation. -" Tom Odhiambo, AFRICAN REVIEW OF BOOKS
"...excellent reading for students and scholars of African cinema looking to understand the socio-cultural contexts of the African films discussed therein." MODERN AFRICAN STUDIES

Paperback

9780852555613

December 2003

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Title Details

224 Pages

2.16 x 1.85 cm

65 b/w illus.

Imprint: James Currey