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March 1995, Week 4


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Scott Henderson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 27 Mar 1995 14:46:25 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
On Fri, 24 Mar 1995, Marja-Riitta Maasilta wrote:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> > I also want to tell my eperience with some first year's journalism students
> with whom we analysed different kinds of media products. I showed them
> Idrissa Ouedraogos film "Tilai" and for the most of them it was the first time
> in their life they saw an African film. They hardly knew where is Burkina
> Faso. The reactions were very embarrased: why the film is so
> slow? They also considered the relationship between the lovers really odd.
> Clearly both history and the way to make a film were different they were used
> to. - Anyway, I'm still in contact with these same students and know that
> they still (after three years) remember this film because it gave them
> some new ideas. We the teachers are also responsable, if we don't propose
> anything different how in earth could the students find these films when they
> are not shown anywhere.
        I have actually just come from a screening of Tilai here in St.
Catharines where unfortunately the audience numbered at best 15. I'm a
bit surprised by the reaction from your students, especially towards the
relationship of the lovers. I felt that the film actually made the
dilemna and its cultural implications quite obvious. As a co-production
with Swiss and French backing I suspect that Ouedraogo needed to consider
issues of audience accessibility within the West and that audience's need
to see and understand "African" culture.
        I know far too little about African cinema, but I read the film
as being about the problems inherent in rigidly adhering to tradition in
a changing world. But I fear that my reading may show a Western bias.
Thre does seem to exist a clash between traditional and 'modern' culture
within the film. While traditions seem problematic, it is of course
Saga's 'rebellious' actions which start the problems and his brother's
unwillingness to follow the tradition of killing which deepens the
problems. Given this, it may be this clash between 'old' and 'new' which
may be of issue not only for the film, but also for a modernizing,
increasingly urban Africa. But, as I noted, I don't know enough about
African cinema to be more sure of my interpretations. Given that, and the
recent discussions over the "international" nature of the list, I would
welcome seeing more postings on African and other hard to access cinemas.
Having seen a film seems no prerequisite for following a discussion on
it, and indeed, such discussions can provide a stimulus to seek out these
works where and when they may be available.
                                                Scott Henderson
                                                McMaster University
                                                Hamilton, Ontario