Funding, ideology and the aesthetics of the development film in postcolonial Zimbabwe

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This article considers the relationships between aesthetics and ideology in donor-funded development film-making from Zimbabwe, examining in particular how the films' producers have attempted to popularize a genre of film-making that has its roots in colonial cinema. Making close reference to two productions from the Harare-based Media for Development Trust (MFD) Neria (Godwin Mawuru, 1992), and Everyone's Child (Tsitsi Dangarembga, 1996) (both of which may be regarded as archetypal examples of their genre) the article demonstrates how the films deploy a range of aesthetic strategies to imbue a set of narratives drawn from colonial development films with greater impact and cultural resonance for contemporary local audiences. The article also suggests that close analysis of these strategies may provide insights into the relationships between the films' aesthetic dimensions and wider ideological issues in the region.

Keywords: Africa; cinema; culture; development; hybridity; postcolonialism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Queen's University.

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film. 
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