Title page for ETD etd-11122004-113256

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Sow, Moussa
Author's Email Address msow1@paws.lsu.edu
URN etd-11122004-113256
Title Cinema Senegalais: Evolution Thematique du Discours Filmique dans les Oeuvres de Sembene Ousmane, Djibril Diop Mambety, Moussa Sene Absa, Jo Gaye Ramaka et Alain Gomis
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department French Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Pius Ngandu Nkashama Committee Chair
Francois Raffoul Committee Member
Jack Yeager Committee Member
Jeff Humphries Committee Member
Kevin Bongiorni Committee Member
  • cinema Africain
  • Senegalese cinema
  • Senegalese film
  • African film
  • African cinema
Date of Defense 2004-08-23
Availability unrestricted
This work aims at filling a gap in African cinema studies. The plurality in film production has been neglected or overseen by Africanist critiques as well as most of the filmmakers from the continent. Such continental shield of a monolithic Africa has been carried by European anthropologists and fostered in part by the Negritude movement in the late 1930s, still conveyed by mimetic writing.

We begin by assessing such a uniform vision and explaining the ways in which it resisted time after more than 40 years of cinema in Africa. Then we introduce the notion of national cinema by exploring the evolution of thematic discourse in Senegalese film, in order to highlight national specificities, which have been overshadowed by a Pan-africanist approach.

Our focus on Senegalese film production allows us to unearth the cultural and social elements embedded in a peculiar history of Senegal. The country’s early contacts with Islam and later with Christianity and colonization on the one hand, and its relatively privileged relationship with the colonial power, i.e. France, before and after independence have generated a unique socio-cultural and political landscape.

We investigate how filmmakers have used such a rich and complex historical stream to question and challenge Senegalese national identity and esthetics.

In analyzing the thematic evolution in Senegalese filmic discourse, we come to find that not only Nations-states have always existed in Africa, but above all, the various styles and themes, which have emerged from the different approaches to filmmaking. Age, and therefore generation in Senegalese film production is crucial to understanding the Pan-africanist, yet local pattern in Sembene’s films, the national and urban focus of Djibril Diop Mambety, the poetry and evasion in Moussa Sčne Absa’s work as well as the various discourses on women through the male cinematic gaze which culminates with Joseph Gaye Ramaka’s controversial Karmen Geď. Ultimately, l’Afrance is a pretext to explore the continuous, yet varied thematic evolution of migration between Senegal and France specifically through these generations of filmmakers, within the contiguous context of migration of texts and bodies.

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