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Subjects of exile: Alienation in Francophone West African cinema

Dovey, Lindiwe (2009) 'Subjects of exile: Alienation in Francophone West African cinema.' International Journal of Francophone Studies .

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Abstract

Based on research conducted at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs' African Cinémathèque, this article explores the narrative and aesthetic manifestations of alienation in francophone West African films of the past five decades. Rather than examine ‘immigration’ films, it focuses on francophone West African films that interrogate the concept of alienation from points of view firmly grounded within Africa, such as Sembene's Niaye (1964), La Noire de… (1966), and Xala (1974), Samb-Makharam's Et La Neige N'Était Plus (1965), Mambety's Touki Bouki (1973), and Sissako's Waiting for Happiness (2002). The choice to ‘centre’ Africa in this way within Francophone Studies has political value, and seeks to acknowledge the ‘internal’ (psychological) as well as ‘external’ (bodily) dimensions of exile. After a theoretical consideration of alienation in relation to contemporary Africa, the article identifies and analyses similarities that traverse specific films dealing with exilic experience, attempting to account for the prevalence of images of feet, the inscription of voices, and a palimpsestic aesthetic. Ultimately, the article acknowledges the painful and repetitive nature of exile while also arguing that alienation, in the context of francophone West African cinema, has become a source of creativity and psychological survival against hostility from both without and within.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Centre for Media and Film Studies
ISSN: 13682679
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1386/ijfs.12.1.55_1
Depositing User: Lindiwe Dovey
Date Deposited: 26 May 2009 14:29
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/7411

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