L’Homme du Niger/The Man from Niger: A cinematographic construction of colonialist ideology in the 1930s
Author: Jimenez, Floréal
Source: Studies in French Cinema, Volume 5, Number 2, August 2005 , pp. 111-122(12)
Abstract:L’Homme du Niger/The Man from Niger (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1939) is one of the rare French films to situate the colonial theme in black Africa. As such it creates a link between the cinema’s imaginary and anthropological history to establish an original reading of the colonial moment and its ideological effects during the 1930s. Colonialism and the colonialist project were designed and justified discursively through the opposition between the value of the white man’s civilization (administration, technology, science and religion) and the inferiority of the diverse aboriginal communities and the black African who were incapable of reasonable behaviour or possessing an idea worth considering. In this process, their culture and history were denied or erased, their political and administrative structures judged inexistent, their behaviour simplistic and superstitious. The appropriation of space is one of the most effective forms of this colonialist construction. And in this film this is made most apparent by the way the images are organized in favour of representations of the construction of the dam, which is at the heart of the narrative and drives the characterization, and which is destined to concretize and give a lasting permanence to the colonizing practice.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 18, 2005
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