Representations of Africa tend to reproduce old stereotypes, adapted to recent trends but ultimately reproducing, even in postcolonial times, a largely negative and monolithic image of a diverse continent. The same can be said of cinema. A more or less consensual approach to "African cinema" associates it with exoticism, making it into a genre easily recognized by Western audiences. It is this idea of a backward, monolithic Africa that the curators of African Screens, Manthia Diawara and Lydie DiakhatĂ­, intended to challenge. The provocative gesture can be found in the choice of the film screened at the inaugural session, Les saignantes, by Jean-Pierre Bekolo. The same applies to Juju Factory, by Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda. Both films question ideas of "authentic" representations of "Africanness," introducing a complex cinematic language that shows how contemporary African film not only is diverse in its tendencies but also relates in diverse ways to different trans/national traditions and models.


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