Download Guide to African Cinema PDF

TitleGuide to African Cinema
PublisherGreenwood Press
ISBN 139780313296215
CategoryArts - Film
File Size1.3 MB
Total Pages203
Document Text Contents
Page 101


first, all seems to go well. The town prepares flowery speeches and cere-
monies to welcome the wealthy woman. However, Mambety inserts shots
of vultures into the preparations. And the town council meets in the rubble
of a building called the Hyena Hole. The teacher recalls how someone
who received a zero in math is now richer than the World Bank, an as-
sociation that brings up ideas about the distribution of wealth in the world
and the problems faced by debtor nations into this microcosm of the large
problems faced by the entire continent. The men continue to remember
those traits that would be most likely to assure them of her sharing her
wealth and restoring the village to a vision of lost splendor.

When Linguère finally arrives she causes the train to halt at a place
where it no longer stops. She immediately suggests her past relationship
with Colobane might not be that suggested by the rest of the town. Lin-
guère and Draman visit scenes from their past. He must help her because
she has lost a leg and replaced it with a gold one. They recall their old
names for each other; she was the wild cat and he the panther. She also
reveals a gold hand, a replacement for another limb lost in a plane crash,
which suggests a person gradually turning into metal and losing her human
side. The viewers learn that their love affair was not as idyllic as has been
suggested. She became pregnant, and he abandoned her to marry a rich
woman, an action he justifies for her own good. A vulture again appears
during their conversation. And his wife is told to sacrifice a black bull.
Shots of the bull are also intercut in this sequence.

Linguère reveals her plan at the town’s reception. She will give the
people a trillion dollars if she can buy Colobane’s court. She introduces
the former chief justice who presided over her paternity trial. She wants
to clear her name. Draman had been able to deny paternity by getting
two men to swear that they had also had sexual relations with her. The
two witnesses appear. She found them and had them castrated. They now
have been transformed into women. The child only lived a year, and, as
a result of Draman’s actions and the court’s lack of justice, she roamed
the world as a prostitute. Now she will give the town the money if someone
kills Draman. The mayor immediately protests the drought has not turned
them into savages. But Linguère knows she will just wait.

It does not take the people long to make up their minds. Customers
appear at the grocery buying expensive foreign items on credit. Everyone
is suddenly wearing yellow boots from Burkina Faso. When Draman goes
to the police to complain that people are going to kill him, the policeman
also has new boots. More consumer goods arrive as part of Linguère’s
payment. Significantly, the most prominent items are those most difficult
to sustain in a struggling economy—appliances and cars that consume im-
portant resources. Each time Draman tries to get help, he finds someone
who has already been corrupted. Even in church he is counseled to take

Page 102


the train out of town as a new chandelier is uncovered. Fireworks replace
the stars in the sky as carnival rides appear to amuse the village. When
more and more people claim their goods, Mambety connects a series of
shots making complex relationships between the people, Linguère, and all
of their actions. He cuts from shots of the fireworks to her face to an owl,
hyenas, and finally people with torches who surround Draman as he makes
a feeble attempt to leave town.

The next day he still tries to leave. An image of a hyena with a large
scrap in its mouth foreshadows his ultimate disappearance where only a
scrap of his clothing is left. The villagers learn Linguère has bought up
the town’s factories and closed them as part of her revenge. She states,
‘‘The world made me a whore. Now I’ll make the world a brothel.’’ The
villagers attempt to avoid a decision by suggesting Draman commit sui-
cide. They then make an appointment with him to arrive at the final de-
termination of his fate. In an open area bounded on one side by a large
cliff, he faces the men of the town who are all wearing imitations of judge’s
wigs and robes. The mayor declares their decision is based on justice. The
money does not influence them. They are only interested in fairness. Dra-
man rejects an offer to pray for him and suggests the man pray for Co-
lobane. He is surrounded by his judges. When they pull back he has
disappeared. Only his coat remains. The shots of Draman’s end are inter-
cut with images of Linguère by the sea. As he vanishes, she walks down
stairs into the darkness below. The film closes with shots of a bulldozer
preparing the ground and a long shot of a city of high-rises and the sound
of an airplane. A ballad dedicated to Frederich (Dürrenmatt) plays over
shots of the elephants. The song tells of a person who has traveled the
world and seen everything and ends by telling people to get up and start
working. If there is no work it is not possible to find freedom.

The words of the ballad form another element in the thematic com-
plexity of the film. The people of Colobane may have been exploited. They
may not actually be responsible for the loss of their factories, but they are
not innocent. Like their compatriots they have accepted the goals set by
colonialism, the attraction of a Western lifestyle. Rather than determining
their own postcolonial direction they have remained dependent, accepting
aid and credit. While Draman must bear the responsibility for his actions,
his acceptance of the past allows him a certain dignity. The larger com-
munity must live with its actions. Linguère has revenge, but she has not
found happiness. Mambety suggests there are many different hyenas in
the film. The animals represent various human counterparts at the same
time that they exist as a part of the African culture that has been attacked
by both colonial and postcolonial periods. The hyenas, who also exist as
tricksters in African folklore, reign in all of their various guises as long as
the people accept them.

Page 202


Ngabo, Leonce, 68–70
Niger, 79
Nigeria, 30–32, 35
La noire de . . . , 102, 109–10, 131

Oral tradition, 3, 8–11, 45, 53, 59, 67,
93, 96, 132, 144, 152, 164, 168, 170;
Afrique, je te plumerai, 21–22;
Angano . . . Angano . . . , 25–26;
Guimba un tyran, une époque, 76–
77; Three Tales from Senegal, 140–

Ouedraogo, Idrissa, 103, 111–14, 141–

Ousmane, Sembene. See Sembene,

Paes, Cesar, 25
Papa Wemba, 11, 150–52
Peck, Raoul, 99–101
Picc Mi/Little Bird, 139–41
Pontecorvo, Gillo, 33–36

Quartier Mozart, 10–11, 115–17
A Question of Honor. See Tilaı̈

Rachedi, Ahmed, 37, 118–20

Raeburn, Michael, 89–91
Ramparts of Clay. See Remparts de


Remparts de Argile, 37, 120–22
Rocking Popenguine. See Ça twiste à

Saaraba, 123–25
Sambizanga, 125–27
Sango Malo, 128–30
Seck, Amadou, 123–25
Sembene, Ousmane, 6, 9, 12, 80, 123,

127, 130–33, 153; Camp de Thiaroye,
39–42, 132; Ceddo, 9, 44–46, 132,
153; Emitai, 39–40, 44, 53–55, 121,
131, 163; Guelwaar, 73–75, 132; La
noire de . . . , 102, 109–10, 131; Xala,
10, 12, 73, 110, 131, 163–65

Senegal, 12, 50, 58, 73, 81, 102–3, 130–
32, 152–53; Camp de Thiaroye, 39–42;
Ça twiste à Poponguine, 42–44;

Ceddo, 44–46; Emitai, 53–55; La
noire de . . . , 109–10; Saaraba, 123–25;
Three Tales from Senegal, 139–41;
Touki Bouki, 144–46; Xala, 163–65

Les silence du palais. See The Silences
of the Palace

The Silences of the Palace, 133–36
Sissoko, Cheick Oumar, 62–65, 75–77
South Africa, 85–88, 160–62
Sundjata Epic, 95
Supernatural in African film, 9–13

Ta Dona, 10, 12, 137–39
Tales from Madagascar, 8. See also
Angano . . . Angano . . .

Teno, Jean-Marie, 20–22
Third World and Third Cinema, 2–4
Three Tales from Senegal, 104, 139–41
Tilaı̈, 9, 112–13, 141–44
Tilley, Brian, 85–88
Tirailleurs, 40–41, 54–55, 80
Tlatli, Moufida, 133–36
Togo, 60
Touki Bouki, 10, 81, 103, 139, 144–46
Tunisia, 120, 133–34

Udju Azul di Yonta, 147–49
Utopia. See Saaraba

La vie est belle, 10–11, 13, 150–52
Vieyra, Paulin Soumanou, 152–54
The Village Teacher. See Sango Malo
Visages des femmes, 154–57
Le voyage de l’hyène. See Touki Bouki

Wade, Mansour Sora, 139–41
Wend Kuuni, 9, 10, 93, 158–60, 169
Women with Open Eyes. See Femmes
aux yeux ouverts

A World of Strangers, 160–62

Xala, 10, 12, 73, 110, 131, 163–65

Yeelen, 9, 10–11, 51, 166–68

Zaire, 11, 99–101, 150–51
Zan Boko, 93, 169–71
Zimbabwe, 55, 89, 106

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