Liberation and Postcolonial Society

Roy Armes

in African Filmmaking

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780748621231
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670789 | DOI:
Liberation and Postcolonial Society

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This chapter considers African filmmakers in terms of the subject which concerns them all, that of their African cultural identity. Over the first two decades of African filmmaking, there is a certain continuity with the mood of the 1960s — exemplified by the writings of Frantz Fanon — which sought a new awareness of national identity in all countries emerging from colonial rule. Initially the experience of anti-imperial struggles led to a simple equation of independence and nationalism, and intellectuals of all kinds felt it their duty to speak directly to their fellow citizens about these matters. In this sense they represent the third level of Fanon's ‘panorama on three levels’ of the returning native intellectual, namely ‘the fighting phase’ when ‘he turns himself into an awakener of the people; hence comes a fighting literature, a revolutionary literature, and a national literature’. The realities of post-independence Africa have subsequently led many to question this equation. But for the pioneer filmmakers initially considered here, who all began their careers in the 1960s, this stance not only shaped their first films, but also continued to mark their work throughout their careers.

Keywords: African filmmakers; cultural identity; colonization; Frantz Fanon; national identity; independence; nationalism

Chapter.  9862 words. 

Subjects: Film

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