AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Manthia Diawara. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1992.
African Cinema is a difficult volume to review. It is published as if it were a book, when, in fact, it is a collection of previously published essays and dissertation chapters. To adequately discuss its strengths and weaknesses, it must be reviewed both as a collection of essays and as a book. As a collection of previously published material it makes available some information in English which until now has been available only in French. As a book on African cinema it provides selected information on Sub-Saharan African cinema, excluding South Africa, as of the early 1980s, with the exception of the last chapter which includes some information on the late 1980s.
Chapters 1 through 6 of African Cinema are slightly edited versions of Chapters 2 through 7 of Manthia Diawara's 1984 Indiana University Ph.D. dissertation, "African Cinema the Background and Economic Context of Production," which have not been significantly updated. These chapters cover film production in Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone Africa and Zaire and French influence on Francophone African cinema and FEPACI (Federation Panafricaine tea Cineastes). There is no mention in African Cinema of Diawara's dissertation or the date when these chapters were written.
In the "Acknowledgments" it is stated that Chapters 7 through 10 have been previously published. Chapter 7 on film distribution and exhibition in Francophone Africa was published in Jump Cut in 1987. Chapter 8 on Anglophone cinema appeared in Blackframes, an edited volume published in 1988. Chapter 10 on FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinema d'Ouagadougou) was published in Third World Affairs in 1986. It is acknowledged that the last chapter, "African cinema today," was published in Framework in 1990. However, it also was published in African Cinema Now, a program for a 1989 film festival in Atlanta, and in the SVA Review (Society for Visual Anthropology) in 1990.
A two-page introduction provides the framework for the chapters which follow. In it Diawara states:
. . . I propose to analyze the structures of film production since colonialism and
the different stances toward film production promoted by governments and
individuals in the colonialist countries and then later in the African nations.
The reader will notice the relatively strong emphasis on film in Francophone
Africa, because it is the dominant cinema in sub-Saharan Africa. The reader
will also see the role played by the Federation …