Postcolonial African Cinema

Postcolonial African Cinema

From Political Engagement to Postmodernism
Kenneth W. Harrow
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/20/2007
Format: Paperback 34 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21914-5
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Kenneth W. Harrow offers a new critical approach to African cinema—one that requires that we revisit the beginnings of African filmmaking and the critical responses to which they gave rise, and that we ask what limitations they might have contained, what price was paid for the approaches then taken, and whether we are still caught in those limitations today.

Using Žižek, Badiou, and a range of Lacanian and postmodern-based approaches, Harrow attempts to redefine the possibilities of an African cinematic practice—one in which fantasy and desire are placed within a more expansive reading of the political and the ideological. The major works of Sembène Ousmane, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Souleymane Cisse, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Jean-Marie Teno, Bassak ba Kohbio, and Fanta Nacro are explored, while at the same time the project of current postmodern theory, especially that of Jameson, is called into question in order that an African postmodernist cultural enterprise might be envisioned.

Author Bio

Kenneth W. Harrow is Professor of English at Michigan State University. His publications include Threshold of Change in African Literature: The Emergence of a Tradition, Less Than One and Double, and African Cinema: Postcolonial and Feminist Readings.


“[A] welcome and important addition to the literatures on African cinema, and beyond that, on the praxis of cultural production in Africa and elsewhere.”
 — Akin Adesokan, Indiana University

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Table of Contents

Preface: Out with the Authentic, In with the Wazimamoto
Introduction: The Creation of a Cinema Engagé
1. Did We Get Off to the Wrong Start? Toward an Aesthetic of Surface versus Depth
2. Sembène's Xala, the Fetish, and the Failed Trickster
3. Cameroonian Cinema: Ba Kobhio, Teno, and the Technologies of Power
4. From Jalopy to Goddess: Quartier Mozart, Faat Kine, and Divine carcasse
5. Toward a Žižekian Reading of African Cinema
6. Aristotle's Plot: What's Inside the Can?
7. Finye: The Fantasmic Support
8. Hyenas: Truth, Badiou's Ethics, and the Return of the Void
9. Toward a Postmodern African Cinema: Fanta Nacro's "Un Certain matin" and Djibril Diop Mambéty's Parlons Grand-Mère