Politics and Aesthetics in Francophone African film: the case of Souleymane Cissé's Finyé (1982)

Langford, Rachael
August 2006
International Journal of Francophone Studies;2006, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p185
Academic Journal
This article discusses the idea of the political in film in relation to sub-Saharan francophone African cinema in general, and more specifically in relation to Souleymane Cissé's film Finyé (1982). It considers the multiple ways in which francophone African cinema can be understood as political because of its multifaceted interactions with French, global and indigenous economics and politics, as well as with the representations that rehearse these politics and economics. These interactions are examined both from the point of view of film as text (narrative interactions) and as commercial product (non-narrative interactions), while arguing that the two are closely connected. The article then looks in detail at Cissé's 1982 film Finyé, exploring the ways in which its narrative and nonnarrative coordinates interact with French, global and indigenous political fields, before concluding by looking forwards to resonant connections with Yeelen (1987) and Waati (1995). Cet essai examine de près l'idée que les cinémas de l'Afrique sub-saharienne francophone sont des cinémas imprégnés de politique, du fait qu'ils entretiennent des relations complexes et multiples et avec le champ politique français, global et local, et avec les représentations engendrées par ces mêmes champs. Ayant discuté de façon générale des liens multiples entre le politique et les cinémas africains francophones, l'article traite de l'application de la notion du film politique à l'œuvre du cinéaste malien, Souleymane Cissé, et en particulier à son long-métrage Finyé (1982). La relation entre politique et esthétique est envisagée du point de vue du film comme texte (relations narratives) aussi bien que du point de vue du film comme produit commercial (relations non narratives), et le lien fort qui relie les relations narratives aux relations non narratives est souligné. L'essai conclut en reliant Finyé aux long-métrages suivants, Yeelen (1987) et Waati (1995).


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