Kenneth W. Harrow offers a new critical approach to African cinema—one that requires that we revisit the beginnings of African filmmaking and the critical responses to which they gave rise, and that we ask what limitations they might have contained, what price was paid for the approaches then taken, and whether we are still caught in those limitations today.
Using Žižek, Badiou, and a range of Lacanian and postmodern-based approaches, Harrow attempts to redefine the possibilities of an African cinematic practice—one in which fantasy and desire are placed within a more expansive reading of the political and the ideological. The major works of Sembène Ousmane, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Souleymane Cisse, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Jean-Marie Teno, Bassak ba Kohbio, and Fanta Nacro are explored, while at the same time the project of current postmodern theory, especially that of Jameson, is called into question in order that an African postmodernist cultural enterprise might be envisioned.
Preface: Out with the Authentic, In with the Wazimamoto
Introduction: The Creation of a Cinema Engagé
1. Did We Get Off to the Wrong Start? Toward an Aesthetic of Surface versus Depth
2. Sembène's Xala, the Fetish, and the Failed Trickster
3. Cameroonian Cinema: Ba Kobhio, Teno, and the Technologies of Power
4. From Jalopy to Goddess: Quartier Mozart, Faat Kine, and Divine carcasse
5. Toward a Žižekian Reading of African Cinema
6. Aristotle's Plot: What's Inside the Can?
7. Finye: The Fantasmic Support
8. Hyenas: Truth, Badiou's Ethics, and the Return of the Void
9. Toward a Postmodern African Cinema: Fanta Nacro's "Un Certain matin" and Djibril Diop Mambéty's Parlons Grand-Mère
"[This book] is at once a strange and exciting work worthy of attention ...Issue 47"~Film International
"Every now and again a single book changes a discipline. Richard Harvey did this in geography; C. Wright Mills preceded him in sociology. And now Ken Harrow has done it for cinema studies. The short preface to Postcolonial African Cinema offers a subversive exhortation written in the style of manifestos issued by other Africanists on the nature, objectives, and identity of African cinema. Through a layered analysis, Harrow positions his study relative to his critics, to African essentialism, and to critical assumptions embedded in outworn conceptual frameworks, refining the counterargument initially developed in Less than One and Double (Heinemann, 2002).Volume 52.2, September 2009"~Keyan A. Tomaselli, AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW
"[A] welcome and important addition to the literatures on African cinema, and beyond that, on the praxis of cultural production in Africa and elsewhere."~Akin Adesokan, Indiana University