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African FilmmakingNorth and South of the Sahara$
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Roy Armes

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748621231

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621231.001.0001

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Liberation and Postcolonial Society

Liberation and Postcolonial Society

(p.67) 5. Liberation and Postcolonial Society
African Filmmaking

Roy Armes

Edinburgh University Press

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

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