By J. M. Burns
“Burns has assembled an impressive amount of evidence — visual, written and verbal…This is an informative work which offers a model for historically informed scholarship on African film.”
Patrick Williams, Modern African Studies
“Deeply researched, well-written, and provocative…It will not only stimulate debate on African film history but should shape the parameters of that debate. Although Burns focuses on Zimbabwe, he has the broad, comparative perspective and grounding in the issues of film history to make this work important not only to African historians but to scholars interested in the global impact of film in relationship to imperialism and colonialism.”
Charles Ambler, The International Journal of African Historical Studies
Every European power in Africa made motion pictures for its subjects, but no state invested as heavily in these films, and expected as much from them, as the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. Flickering Shadows is the first book to explore this little-known world of colonial cinema.
J. M. Burns pieces together the history of the cinema in Rhodesia, examining film production, audience reception, and state censorship, to reconstruct the story of how Africans in one nation became consumers of motion pictures. Movies were a valued “tool of empire” designed to assimilate Africans into a new colonial order. Inspired by an inflated confidence in the medium, Rhodesian government offcials created an African Film industry that was unprecedented in its size and scope.
Transforming the lives of their subjects through cinema proved more complicated than white officials had anticipated. Although Africans embraced the medium with enthusiasm, they expressed critical opinions and demonstrated decided tastes that left colonial officials puzzled and alarmed.
Flickering Shadows tells the fascinating story of how motion pictures were introduced and negotiated in a colonial setting. In doing so, it casts light on the history of the globalization of the cinema. This work is based on interviews with white and black filmmakers and African audience members, extensive archival research in Africa and England, and viewings of scores of colonial films.
J. M. Burns is a professor of African history at Clemson University. He is the co-editor of Problems in Modern African Studies, Historical Problems of Imperial Africa, and Problems in African History. More info →
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Black and White in Colour: African History on Screen considers how the African past has been represented in a wide range of historical films. Written by a team of eminent international scholars, the volume provides extensive coverage of both place and time and deals with major issues in the written history of Africa. Themes include the slave trade, imperialism and colonialism, racism, and anticolonial resistance.
Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-first Century
Art Films and the Nollywood Video Revolution
Edited by Mahir Şaul and Ralph A. Austen
African cinema in the 1960s originated mainly from Francophone countries. It resembled the art cinema of contemporary Europe and relied on support from the French film industry and the French state. But since the early 1990s, a new phenomenon has come to dominate the African cinema world: mass-marketed films shot on less expensive video cameras. These “Nollywood” films, so named because many originate in southern Nigeria, are a thriving industry dominating the world of African cinema.
Since 1999 and the death of King Hassan II, Morocco has experienced a dramatic social transformation. Encouraged by the more openly democratic climate fostered by young King Mohammed VI, filmmakers have begun to explore the sociocultural and political debates of their country while also seeking to document the untold stories of a dark past. Screening Morocco: Contemporary Film in a Changing Society focuses on Moroccan films produced and distributed from 1999 to the present.
Reel Pleasures brings the world of African moviehouses and the publics they engendered to life, revealing how local fans creatively reworked global media—from Indian melodrama to Italian westerns, kung fu, and blaxploitation films—to speak to local dreams and desires.