Postcolonial transformations: From Emitaï (Sembène 1971) to Moolaadé (Sembène 2004)

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This article explores the shifting geopolitical postcolonial landscape in African cinema and, in particular, focuses on Emitaï and Moolaadé, two works by Senegalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembène. Emitaï dates from early in Sembène’s career and focuses on the struggle of a Diola village in the 1940s as it attempts to prevent the French from drafting its young men and ommandeering its rice supply. Moolaadé is representative of Sembène’s later work and focuses on the resistance of Collé Ardo, as she struggles to protect her daughter and three young girls from undergoing excision. Like Emitaï, Moolaadé frames its conflict within the endered space of the village and depicts women as crucial in initiating social change. From this respect, it is tempting to regard Moolaadé as a continuation of the tradition of African ‘return to the source’ films that recoup traditional culture as the solution to Africa’s ongoing struggles. However, despite the similarities, Moolaadé evidences significant differences to Emitaï, especially in terms of its ideological slant and its depiction of traditional culture. Thus, these two films offer the opportunity to consider how the early legacy of frican cinema is being reconstituted and transformed to serve new postcolonial African realities

Keywords: African; Afro-Radicalism; aesthetics; cinema; globalization; nativism; postcolonial

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Regina

Publication date: October 28, 2011

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