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The emergence of women’s film-making in francophone sub-Saharan Africa: From pioneering figures to contemporary directors

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The socially and politically committed films of francophone West Africa have for decades been incorporating progressive representations of African women. Although female directors are hugely underrepresented in West African film-making, as they are the world over, the last two decades have seen the gradual emergence of female directors in francophone West Africa. An increasing number of women in francophone West Africa are directing their own films, building on the work of the pioneering, mostly male, West African film-makers. This article will discuss the emergence of female film-making in francophone sub-Saharan Africa, from the pioneering figures to a number of contemporary directors following in the footsteps of those female directors who have initiated the tradition of female film-making in francophone sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the key films made by African women will be discussed, with a focus on the themes, genres and styles that female film-makers employ in their work. The article conclude that African women’s film-making in francophone West Africa is an emerging tradition of plurality and multiplicity, with a diverse range of genres and themes being employed, informed by the lived experiences of the directors
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Keywords: Apolline Traoré; FESPACO; Fanta Regina Nacro; Safi Faye; female film-makers; francophone West Africa

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Glasgow

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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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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