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African Filmmaking: North and South of the Sahara by Roy Armes

By Roy Armes

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Extra info for African Filmmaking: North and South of the Sahara (Traditions in World Cinema)

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What is very striking from a present-day standpoint is the handling of the setting and the Arab characters. When the local French police chief, Slimane, describes the Casbah, he mentions nine national or racial types as making up the Casbah’s 40,000 inhabitants, but the word ‘Arab’ does not occur. There are, as most commentators on the film have noted, no Arabs in the Casbah! Slimane 23 AFRICAN FILMMAKING is stereotyped as a wily and treacherous oriental, detested by his French superiors, and Pépé’s girlfriend Inès (French actress Line Noro) is depicted not as an Arab, but as a gypsy, complete with dark make-up, black frizzy hair and large earrings.

Chad and Togo followed belatedly in the 1990s, and Didier Ouenangare co-directed the first feature film in the Central African Republic in 2003. In the Maghreb, feature filmmaking began in Algeria in 1965 with Ahmed Rachedi’s masterly documentary Dawn of the Damned/L’Aube des damnés, which was quickly followed by eight fictional features in the 1960s, among them Mohamed Lakhdar Hamina’s The Wind from the Aurès/Le Vent des Aurès (1966). Tunisian cinema was inaugurated by Omar Khlifi with the appropriately named The Dawn/L’Aube (1966), and three further Tunisian features were made in the late 1960s.

Notes 1. ), Nation, Society and Culture in North Africa, (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2003), pp. 2–3. 2. Harry Baur, quoted in Maurice-Robert Bataille and Claude Veillot, Caméras sous le soleil: Le Cinéma en Afrique du nord (Algiers: 1956), p. 9. 3. ), Cinema and Society (Paris: IFTC, 1981), p. 101. 4. Ibid. 5. Jean-Claude Seguin, Alexandre Promio ou les énigmes de la lumière (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1999), p. 250. 6. , p. 254. 7. Bataille and Veillot, Caméras sous le soleil, pp. 13–14. 8. Rémy Carrigues, ‘L’Homme du Niger’, in L’Almanach Ciné-Miroir, 1940.

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