Diawara’s Reflection On New African Cinema
décembre 2011 | Bilans d’événements culturels | Cinéma/TV | Nigeria


Sunday, 02 October 2011 – Reviewed by Ken Harrow – Sunday Magazine – Arts
THIS summer I had the pleasure of reading a new book on African cinema by Manthia Diawara [African Film : new forms of aesthetics and politics]. Diawara has made himself into a public intellectual with his columns on various websites and journals, and especially with the publications of his memoirs, including In Search of Africa and We Won’t Budge, wonderful accounts of this diasporan Malian-Guinean returning home to both countries, across the time and space of his journey to America where he obtained a doctorate and ultimately became director of African Studies at NYU.

In one of the most unusual and successful career moves, this student and scholar of African cinema, after having published his influential African Cinema: Politics and Culture (in which he lays out genre categories still being cited widely today), and his important edition of African American cinema (Black American Cinema), turned to filmmaking himself. His first film, Rouch in Reverse, set the cinema of diaspora studies on its ear when he turned the camera’s lens on the « papa » of African cinéma vérité, the filmmaker whose Les Maîtres fous outraged African audiences in Paris when it was first shown.

More significantly, Diawara turned to the camera himself to expand his range of memoir and personal essays by creating moving and intellectually challenging films of his return, his focus onglobalization, his memories of growing up in Bamako, and finally of his friendship with Ngugi.

He is unique in having thus created not only an oeuvre that addresses the central issues of our times, in New York where he works, in Paris where he passes much of his time, and in Mali to which he returns, narrating these encounters in his rich, deep nasal tones as though addressing a friend who is as familiar with these places and acquaintances of his as he is. He invites us in, not through any polemic, but through the personal encounter and thought.

Read more: [The Guardian (Nigeria)]

Prof. Harrow is Profesor of English and African Studies at Michigan State University, USA
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