By Lindiwe Dovey

Analyzing a number South African and West African motion pictures encouraged through African and non-African literature, Lindiwe Dovey identifies a selected pattern in modern African filmmaking-one during which filmmakers are utilizing the embodied audiovisual medium of movie to provide a critique of actual and mental violence. opposed to an in depth historical past of the medium's savage creation and exploitation by way of colonial powers in very diverse African contexts, Dovey examines the advanced ways that African filmmakers are holding, mediating, and critiquing their very own cultures whereas looking a united imaginative and prescient of the longer term. greater than simply representing socio-cultural realities in Africa, those motion pictures have interaction with problems with colonialism and postcolonialism, "updating" either the background and the literature they adapt to deal with modern audiences in Africa and somewhere else. via this planned and radical re-historicization of texts and realities, Dovey argues that African filmmakers have built a style of filmmaking that's altogether unique from eu and American varieties of adaptation.

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Extra resources for African Film and Literature: Adapting Violence to the Screen

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Film Adaptation as Adornian Mimesis The idea of performance suggests an embodied investment in film by both authors and audience, but it does not address the question of where rationality fits into the picture. Theodor Adorno’s concept of mimesis is useful to this study in that it marries the concepts of embodied and rational modes of being and sees this marriage as a prerequisite of critique. Mimesis, of course, has a long history, predating Adorno’s adoption and amplification of the concept. While it is not my interest to engage with this history here, it is important to point out that mimesis has primarily been conceived of in two ways.

The Cameroonian filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bekolo has said that he uses a great deal of voice-over in his films since he “was once told that no one ever hears what Africans say or what they think. And by extension such a statement would seem to suggest that Africans don’t think at all” (2000:25). ” Rather than merely succumbing to a position of resistance, through consistently asserting African rationality over embodiment, the filmmakers discussed here maintain the necessary dialectic intrinsic to Adorno’s concept of mimesis.

To Fanon, racism results in an emphasis on the skin color of a victim to the extent that the victim can think of nothing other than his/her skin color—his/her mind becomes preoccupied with the body/skin. Similarly, according to Biko, the minds of black South Africans were the prime weapons in the hands of the apartheid government in South Africa, and he argues that, “Material want is bad enough, but coupled with spiritual poverty it kills” (1979:28). Reconstituting an effortless dialectic between mind and body was one of the aims of Fanon’s psychiatric work at Blida-Joinville in Algeria in the 1950s as well as of Biko’s Black Consciousness movement of the 1970s.

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