Dienstag, 13. Juni 2017, 17:00 - 19:00 iCal


„What is Nollywood?“ by Onookome Okome, PhD

Seminarraum 3, Institut für Afrikawissenschaften
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 5, 1090 Wien


There is little doubt that as a cinematic practice, Nollywood has profoundly troubled the very notion of the African cinema. Before the emergence of this mode of popular filmmaking, African cinema was connected primarily to the “engaged” films made by filmmakers from the mainly French speaking area of West Africa. All that changed with the emergence of the Nollywood, and the discursive practice is changing also but not fast enough to account for the popularity of Nollywood across the African continent. Criticized at home for playing to the gallery and vilified for recreating “the noble savage elsewhere,” a trope reminiscent of the Tarzan films, Nollywood becomes a cinematic pariah of some sort among those who study and write about African cinema. The exceptions are few and far between in this regard. Lacking a clear and consistent framework with which to read Nollywood, and unwilling to invest time and rigor in the formulation of a new vocabulary for reading the Nollywood film, film scholars and critics rely instead on the critical approach which compares the text of the Nollywood film to its “counterpart,” the African film from French speaking West Africa. This critical approach robs Nollywood of its unique place in the discursive ecology of African cinematic experience and minimizes its peculiar character. Can there be an African cinema that does not espouse the ideological characteristics of “third cinema” as Teshome H. Gabriel envisions it and how might we define such a cinema on its own terms? This is the issue that I take in this presentation.


Onookome Okome is Professor at the Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

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Institut für Afrikawissenschaften


Ulrike Auer
Institut für Afrikawissenschaften