Mourning the Living: Africa and the Elegy on Screen
KLAISNER-DISSERTATION-2019.pdf (37.03Mb)(embargoed until: 2024-03-01)
Klaisner, Molly Mueller
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CitationKlaisner, Molly Mueller. 2019. Mourning the Living: Africa and the Elegy on Screen. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation attempts to account for the prevalence of elegiac tropes in francophone African cinema. Considering films by African directors as well as those by non-African filmmakers who influenced and anticipated African cinema, this project looks comparatively at elegy and Africans on film from the earliest days of motion photography to the present day. Tracing elegy through the history of ethnographic film, the anti-colonial essay film, francophone African autobiographical film and the popular-art film hybrid, I argue that elegy provided a discourse for two overlapping movements. First, it served as the mode through which filmmakers defined the aesthetic and ideological goals of African cinema. Secondly, elegy permitted African cinema to narrate its own emergence and to assert its sense of belonging to a global history and discourse. In following these twin developments, we better understand Euro-American cinema’s self-conscious expansion, however uneven and incomplete, into a global medium. Situating African cinema within this larger historical movement, this dissertation claims for it a key role in the consolidation of film genres and in the configuration of an elegiac aesthetic with a far-reaching, futuristic, even utopian vision of what cinema can be and do.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41121283
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