Sonic Space in Djibril Diop Mambety's Films

Sonic Space in Djibril Diop Mambety's Films

Vlad Dima
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/09/2017
Format: Paperback 19 black & white
ISBN: 978-0-253-02426-8
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The art of Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety’s cinema lies in the tension created between the visual narrative and the aural narrative. His work has been considered hugely influential, and his films bridge Western practices of filmmaking and oral traditions from West Africa. Mambety’s film Touki Bouki is considered one of the foundational works of African cinema. Vlad Dima proposes a new reading of Mambety’s entire filmography from the perspective of sound. Following recent analytical patterns in film studies that challenge the primacy of the visual, Dima claims that Mambety uses voices, noise, and silence as narrative tools that generate their own stories and sonic spaces. By turning an ear to cinema, Dima pushes African aesthetics to the foreground of artistic creativity and focuses on the critical importance of sound in world cinema.

Author Bio

Vlad Dima is Assistant Professor of French Studies with a specialty in African cinema at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He received his doctorate in 2010 from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. He has published numerous articles on French and francophone cinemas, Hollywood, television studies, and literary studies.


“Vlad Dima’s close readings of Mambèty’s films sing. His are smart, critically sound interpretations of aesthetically rich and thematically resonant works. This book will surely be of interest to anyone studying movie soundtracks, but it will also interest those who care about the affective dimensions of sound and audition, particularly in the global South.”
 — Noah Tsika, author of Nollywood Stars

“This sophisticated and in-depth analysis aptly demonstrates Vlad Dima’s grasp of the contentious issues surrounding Mambèty’s film legacy as well as the overall perspectives on the degree to which Third Cinema and revolutionary filmmaking fit within an analysis of the Senegalese director’s oeuvre.”
 — James E. Genova, author of Cinema and Development in West Africa

“[A]s the first monograph to focus on listening to a body of cinematic work from the African continent, Dima’s book makes an undeniably welcome contribution, adding useful new critical concepts. African cinema has on the whole received short shrift from screen sound and music studies, a state of affairs the book clearly demonstrates is unjust. By focusing on Mambety’s often radical use of sound, Dima argues forcefully that this rich and innovative body of work needs to play a far more central role in our understanding of the ways in which sound and image operate.”
 — Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

“This volume is an important study of orality and narrative in Senegalese cinema, and it has a voice that is certain to emanate beyond its covers.”
 — Notes

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Aural Contexts
1. Aural Space and the Sonic Rack Focus in Touki Bouki
2. Flâneur, Geography and caméra-flâneur in Badou-Boy and Contras' City
3. Trauma and Zombie Narratives in Hyènes
4. Voice(s) in Le Franc and La Petite vendeuse de soleil
Gallery of film stills
Conclusion: Current Contexts and Legacies

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