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Monday, June 11, 2007

African Cinema Three

posted by on June 11 at 11:57 AM

Part two of African Cinema will begin by thanking Ousmane Sembène for leaving the world with four masterpieces (Xala, Faat Kiné, Mandabi, and Moolaadé). The death of the great Senegalese director brings to an end the post-colonial period of African filmmaking, the highest of achievement of which is Hyènes, a film by Sembène’s countryman and protégé, Djibril Diop Mambéty.

Now, let’s have a quick look at an image that has no equivalent in the democratic cinema of Sembène:

The first thing we see is Lucy and her man:

The second thing we see is the Savage Queen from Heart of Darkness. In both the novella and movie, Children of Men, the Savage Queen is, like Ethopia’s Lucy, the absolute life-force. But there’s an important difference: In Heart of Darkness, the Savage Queen is abandoned for the infertile white woman at end of the novella; in the movie, on the other hand, she is retrieved and protected (dying Europe needs her fertility) and the infertile white woman is abandoned (after she is shot in the neck). Outside of African cinema, we have yet to see the image of an African woman who is not in essence Lucy or the Savage Queen.

Three will be this…

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Awesome Charles Mudede impersonation!

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | June 11, 2007 12:31 PM

Moolaadé still isn't out on DVD. It's rested in my Netflix queue for three or four years. What gives? I've had two chances to see it since it was released and both times something has superceded.

Posted by Bauhaus | June 11, 2007 12:32 PM

I thought Freaky Friday was over?

Good parody, Fnarf!

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 11, 2007 12:44 PM

One problem with the black woman (or man) = ape, or early hominid, analogy is that Lucy and her relatives the great apes are COVERED WITH HAIR. Black Africans, and African-Americans, are much, much LESS hairy than, say, white people.

But I agree, it would be nice to see a portrayal of an African women (or Johnny Depp, for that matter) playing a complex human and not a caricature, or a symbol of something.

Posted by Fnarf | June 11, 2007 12:48 PM

the problem with charles is that he finds symbolism in everything.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 11, 2007 1:24 PM

You say that like it's a bad thing ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 11, 2007 1:33 PM

charles will never be able to handle a female african character that isn't a symbol of something if he finds symbolism in everything.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 11, 2007 1:56 PM

As far as the depiction of Lucy, I found the entire presentation ruined by the presence of palm trees in the background, a clear distraction from the post-homoerectist statement that Lucy attempts to make.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 11, 2007 2:27 PM

That what's-her-fuck chick (please, don't tell me, lest I remember) from Blood Diamond did some of the worst acting I've ever seen. She ruined whatever she wouldn't have if she wasn't in it. :Thinks of symbolism of 'weak link':

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | June 11, 2007 3:27 PM

I'm still not getting the Constant Gardener reference. In the film (and the book, I presume) the African guy is gay and the English woman is married to a white Englishman. Three will be what?

Posted by keshmeshi | June 11, 2007 3:39 PM

Hello? Movies are filled with symbolism. Exvery shot is crafted. You SHOULD see symbolism in a movie. Sheesh.

Posted by K X One | June 11, 2007 3:39 PM

No African film is authentic unless it has at least one major white character, usually a heroic white character.

Posted by Smarm | June 11, 2007 4:48 PM

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