Experimental Narratives

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:
Experimental Narratives

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The inherent social, political, economic, and cultural contradictions of postcolonial Africa have prompted some filmmakers to escape the everyday and find a new starting point for their work. From the beginning of the 1970s too, a number of filmmakers argued that new formal structures, owing far less to the conventions of mainstream Western cinema, were needed if African cinemas were to reflect the reality of postcolonial rule from a truly African perspective. Over the past forty years, there has been a constant, dominant stream of socially realist films which accept identity as a given and are based on a sense of common historical experiences and shared cultural codes. Alternative or experimental films which call into question that approach have been sporadic, though none the less valuable for that. Most often these have been isolated, individual works within the overall output of a filmmaker who has earlier worked in, or subsequently reverts to, the realist mainstream.

Keywords: African filmmaking; filmmakers; postcolonial rule; alternative films; experimental films

Chapter.  6212 words. 

Subjects: Film

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