Cinema has long been considered as a means of entertainment. This is particularly true given that the majority of world subjects usually watch films during their leisure time. While this is the case, entertainment is not the sole purpose of cinema. Rather, it serves the core purpose of exposing the most critical problems, which face the people. To illustrate this particular point, the work of Osmane Sembene can be used. Sembene was a Senegalese film director, producer, as well as, a writer. He is considered as one of the greatest African authors. Also, he has often been regarded as an icon in the historical context of African movie sector.
According to Guneratne and Dissanayake, the works of Sembene provides the people who reside out of Africa with a rich window into an entirely different world (46). The researchers added that these works tends to place the Africans with an opportunity to reflect on what has for a long time taken for granted in their day-to-day life (Guneratne and Dissanayake 46). In all his movies, Sembene exhibits an unwavering courage to handle not only difficult but also controversial matters head on and in a manner that leaves his viewers intellectually and contemplative stimulated. For instance, he re-reads the African history, providing a critical view of the contested perceptions of what forms part or whole of indigenous versus foreign economic and political interests (Guneratne and Dissanayake 53).
He also puts the continuously transforming terrain of the African religious plurality into the limelight. In addition, it is apparent that Sembene’s film usually problematise the issue of make dominance, polygamous marriages or unions, gerontocratic leadership exhibited by some African regimes, disparities in the socioeconomic statuses among people and nations, along with the long-honored cultural practices including female genital mutilation. In his works, it is evident that Sembene was overly concerned by cultural alienation. He also showed ruthlessness in explaining the abuses facilitated by the post-colonial bourgeoisie. He urged the Africans to seek and embrace the inescapable forces of internationalisation, but maintain their traditional social values. In this way, it is right to affirm that Sembene, through his work, is intellectually thought provoking. He wants the African leadership to take a proper shift if they are to achieve the high standards that their western counterparts have in place (Petty 31).
As Petty defined in his study, the central aim of Ousmane Sembene, as exhibited in his movies, was to reach the African audiences or viewers and thereby encouraging them to initiate a dialogue among themselves, as well as, with their political leaders (39). While this is the case, as Gadjigo reveals, his movies also, in an extraordinary manner, introduced the non-African interest groups to the majority of the critically intriguing cultural issues and social change discourses that face the African subjects in the modern day (101). His movies, as Busch and Annas put it, are not hurried as the Western films (12). Rather, they are unhurried and driven by narratives. This technique was indeed deliberate. Sembene wanted the world to have a deeper and clear understanding of the African way of life, their social interactions and the patterns of consumption and communication that they tends to follow. The style is also intended to reveal about the tribulations and joys of the Africans.
For individuals who have never visited the African continent, Sembene films truly provides an exemplary virtual access, For those who have toured the continent or have even interacted with the African culture in one way or another, Sembene’s films are known to provide a means through which they can explore the African societies and cultural diverseness in a more profound manner (Gadjigo 103). Having such knowledge is essential as they can assist the Africans to confront the issues that confront them through a political lens.
- Busch, ? Annett and Max Annas. Ousmane Semb’ne: Interviews. Jackson, MS: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2008. Print.
- Gadjigo, Samba. Ousmane Semb’ ?ne: The Making of a Militant Artist. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2010. Print.
- Guneratne, Anthony R., and Wimal Dissanayake. Rethinking Third Cinema. Psychology Press, 2003. Print.
- Petty, Sheila. A Call to action: the films of Ousmane Sembene. London, UK: Flicks Books, 1996. Print.