What is African cinema?
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What is African cinema? book
The opening scene of the film Aristole's Plot by the Cameroonian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo is very insightful about what is African cinema. The understanding and appreciation of African cinema(s) needs to depart from stereotypical perceptions of Africa as a monolithic entity in order to discern its richly textured artistic expressions. During colonial times, film was used not only as entertainment for the mostly urban colonial settlers, but importantly as a pedagogical instrument to educate indigenous people to be become 'civilized.' The use of the collective term 'African cinema' may not necessarily be itself a completely wrong choice, but it has to be contextualized and understood within the framework of diverse cinematic traditions and practices on the continent. We believe that the reading lenses of content, aesthetics, and production and distribution offer insightful perspectives in defining African cinema(s) on its own, but also in establishing parallels with other cinematic traditions around the world.