Fall Session II:
November 19 - December 30, 2009
MYTH, MAGIC AND RESISTANCE
Films screened and discussed:
Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambety, 1973)
Yeelen (Souleymane Cisse, 1987)
Camp de Thiaroye (Ousmane Sembene &
Thierno Faty Sow, 1987)
Hyenas (Djibril Diop Mambety, 1992)
Moolaadé (Ousmane Sembene, 2004)
Thursdays, November 19 & December 3-17;
Tuesday, December 29;
Wednesday December 30
Please note: classes will not be held on November 26 or December 24.
Since its emergence, approximately forty years ago, African film has tackled such diverse and difficult issues as "traditional" values, modernity, colonialism, decolonization, the World Bank, assimilation, and post-colonial Africa. In this course we will explore the rich cultural landscape of Africa by reviewing groundbreaking works that have been instrumental in defining African cinema. For the theme of magic, we will examine Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cisse's breathtaking representation of the Bambaran culture and the magical blacksmith cult of the Komo in Yeelen along with Senegalese film pioneer Ousmane Sembene's controversial work Moolaadé about the casting of a powerful magic spell to protect the girls of a village from the village’s traditional practice of female circumcision. For the theme of myth, we will look at two films by the gifted Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambety. In Hyenas, the reign of the hyena devours the small town of Colobane in this fable about the evils of greed and Western consumerism. The myth and allure of Paris is the focus of Mambety’s second work, Touki Bouki, which follows the adventures of a love-struck couple who are based in Dakar but long to escape to the "City of Light." We will also explore the theme of resistance by analyzing two films. The first work, Camp de Thiaroye, by Sembene and Thierno Faty Sow is a representation of the real life struggle of African French colonial soldiers during World War II for equal pay and respect from the French as they awaited their papers to return to their respective countries. The second film, Bamako, by Mauritanian/Mali-raised filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako depicts the defiant people of Africa who stage a mock trial of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that takes place in a courtyard in Bamako, Mali.
Kristen Barnes is a scholar and transactional lawyer. She was awarded her Ph.D. in 2003 from Duke University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1990. Her work focuses on the areas of Francophone and African cinema, postcolonial literature and film, comparative law, immigration law, questions of citizenship and identity, and intersections between law, literature, and cinema. She has taught courses on cinema at Northwestern University and Duke University. She previously taught a class at the Facets Film School titled French Living on the Edge: Outsiders, Bandits, Rebels and Misfits.
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