African Film and Literature: Adapting Violence to the Screen
by Lindiwe Dovey (9780231147552)

African Film and Literature: Adapting Violence to the Screen
Lindiwe Dovey
Release Date: 15 April 2009
Format: Paperback / softback
Pages: 360
Category: Films, Cinema
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231147552

The significant diversity of contemporary African cinema has compelled a new definition of African identity, one that is carved along local instead of continental lines. Yet the pan-African beliefs and attitudes pioneered by such leaders as Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, and Gamal Abdel Nasser continue to thrive in African film, speaking to the crucial role of desire, the imagination, and subjectivity in the construction of African cinematic identities. Reading a range of South African and Francophone West African films inspired by African and non-African literature, including Gavin Hood's Tsotsi (2006) and Mickey Madoda Dube's A Walk in the Night (1998), Lindiwe Dovey identifies the trends and movements that suggest a collective African identity. Though she remains sensitive to different cinematic traditions and methods of production across Africa, Dovey pinpoints certain shared historical experiences, as well as a united vision of the future. She provides in-depth histories of the way in which the film medium was violently introduced and exploited by colonial powers in Africa. These histories provide a backdrop for her engagement with films and literary texts that conceptualize, visualize, and critique physical and psychological violence. More than being acutely concerned with the socio-cultural realities of life in Africa, these films engage with issues of colonialism and postcolonialism, "updating" both the history and the literature they adapt. Through this deliberate re-historicization of texts and realities, Dovey argues, African filmmakers critique past and present forms of violence and develop a method of filmmaking that is altogether distinct from European and American forms of adaptation.

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