Worth a closer look: A comparative study of Xala and Osuofia in London

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Since the turn of the twenty-first century, films produced in Africa have been categorized as either ‘elitist’ auteur cinema or ‘popular’ video films. This antagonism is not least due to a tendency to overload the study of African film with theory and thereby to lose sight of the movies themselves. As the same concepts and authors are cited repeatedly, we read a lot of self-references instead of references to the films themselves. In an attempt to bridge the emerging gap between these two types of film, the article proposes a closer look at Ousmane Sembène’s satire Xala from 1974 and the successful two-part video comedy Osuofia in London by Kingsley Ogoro from 2003/2004. The films have little in common in terms of production and reception contexts, but a comparison of the auteur film and the video film may reveal similarities in theme and mise-en-scène.

Keywords: Nkem Owoh; Nollywood; Osuofia in London; Ousmane Sembène; Xala; popular culture

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jac.5.1.55_1

Affiliations: University Mainz

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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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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