Beginnings

North Africa has given us better wines than we could have imagined. I see no reason why she should not, tomorrow, give us the best French films.2 The cinema reached Africa at much the same time as it spread across Europe and the United States. There were film shows in Cairo and Alexandria as early as 1896, in Tunis and Fez in 1897, Dakar in 1900 and Lagos in 1903. The initial impulse behind this worldwide spread was purely commercial the desire to exploit to the full the commercial potential of...

The African Experience

The contradictions of modern Africa which stem from the co-existence of widely differing values are still the inescapable reality. Filmmaking in Africa by Africans is fundamentally a postcolonial activity and experience, and nowhere is this more the case than in the two contiguous but variously colonised geographical areas dealt with in this book. The first area comprises the North African countries forming the Maghreb Tunisia and Morocco, which both became independent in 1956, and Algeria,...

Info

The local production situation changed radically in 1980 when the Moroccan government introduced a system of assistance for production the so-called 'fonds de soutien' , which though paying no attention to quality, did have the effect of greatly stimulating production activity. As a result the 1980s saw an upsurge in filmmaking, with the production of thirty-eight feature films, twenty-one of them made by new directors. The plan was undoubtedly well-intentioned, but the sums offered were small...

African Initiatives

The current philosophy of filmmakers is in fact that the state should sustain production by helping its financing and distribution, but by regularising the market. The state should protect rather than take everything on board. This study is largely concerned with post-independence filmmaking in four adjoining areas astride the Sahara, all of which were colonised by the French up to the end of the 1950s or the beginning of the 1960s. Three of these -Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia - are independent...

The French Connection

It is less the case of a French aid policy serving the cinemas of the South, than of the latter being used to assist French cultural policy. Filmmaking south of the Sahara has long been a matter of concern for the French government. As a result, although we are dealing with films that often have a distinctly anti-colonial edge and a clear insight into postcolonial realities, it is impossible to understand the existence of these films without considering first the attitudes and policies of the...