BLST 171 final1


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USE AS REFERENCE MATERIAL ONLY Cultural Representation Through African Film Throughout the history of film, the West has dominated the screen. Western films have been the mainstream and have developed a monopoly over the images we see in movies. The film industry has had a large impact on Western thought and has influenced the way in which the West views the rest of the world. Western films about Africa have historically been less than accurate and often simply reinforce Western goals and Western ideals in Africa. For this reason, those outside the realm of the Western world, particularly those in Africa, have found it difficult to express themselves in a public light. Hollywood and the rest of the film industry have been quick to vilify native Africans and African culture while glorifying Western attempts to colonize these ‘savages’. Since the inception of African film, African film makers have taken this fact to their work and have used film to their advantage. African film has sought to express African issues and to do so within their means. While Western film has the luxury of multi-million dollar blockbusters, African film does not have these resources. Therefore, the purpose in African film is in its dialogues and plotlines as opposed to its movie stars or action sequences. Through the use of character, dialogue, and well thought plot, African film has successfully portrayed African culture and struggle despite the multitude of disadvantages stacked against it. The first example of African film is the film Pieces d’Identites . In this film, an African king, Mani Kongo, journeys to Belgium to find his daughter who is studying abroad. In the process, Mani Kongo is ridiculed throughout his journey for his “ID” (identity) or his crown and other garments designating him as a king. The Mani Kongo is a much respected king in Africa which has been a part of African heritage and history for generations prior. Yet when the Mani Kongo arrives in Europe and into Western culture, he is given the exact opposite of the respect
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he receives in Africa. Initially he has to pay off Belgium officials to allow him to keep his
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This essay was uploaded on 04/19/2008 for the course ARTH 186 j taught by Professor Unknown during the Spring '08 term at UCSB.

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