Abstract

This paper examines how Bassek ba Kobhio's 1995 film Le Grand Blanc de Lambaréné uses music to deconstruct the iconic figure of Albert Schweitzer. At key moments throughout the film, the doctor encounters a young drummer with whom he attempts and fails to communicate musically. The moments have little to do with the otherwise linear narrative. Nevertheless, they structure the film's argument and demonstrate the ways in which an expressive medium becomes an essential ingredient in Western ordering and mastering of the world. Having established this connection, ba Kobhio proposes another model of social identity in which music offers a synthetic and improvisational open-endedness. This point in the film marks the defeat of the Schweitzerian order and announces an alternative to the Western authoritarian model. Unfortunately, it also begins a reification of this musical function that ignores the material conditions of the African present.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2044
Print ISSN
0034-5210
Pages
pp. 205-222
Launched on MUSE
2005-10-24
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.