This chapter discusses African filmmaking in the 1980s and 1990s. The African filmmakers of the 1960s and early 1970s were largely concerned — after the long period of colonisation — to show Africa from an African perspective, to make their audiences see things anew by projecting the everyday realities around them onto the screen. In doing so, they were calling upon audiences to recognise their own social and historical situation. As the initial didacticism faded, the style of realism they adopted was close to that of the Italian neorealists, showing poverty in order to expose and create sympathy, rather than to incite action. In so far as there was a focus on the individual, it was largely in terms of a failure to adapt to the challenges posed by the wider clash of tradition and modernity. What is perhaps surprising is that this same stance persists largely unchanged into the present for the majority of African filmmakers. What the 1980s and 1990s brought were ways of deepening this basic realist approach by showing greater concern for the individual character and a more questioning stance, aware of political as well as social issues.
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