Cultivating a Community of Viewers in Africa: How Sissako Frames Spectatorship and Performance in His Films
PublisherIndiana University Press
CitationPhyllis Taoua, “Cultivating a Community of Viewers in Africa: How Sissako Frames Spectatorship and Performance in His Films,” Black Camera: An International Film Journal 13, no. 2 (Spring 2022): 27–52, doi: 10.2979/blackcamera.13.2.02.
Rights© 2022 Indiana University Press. All rights reserved. This article was published as Phyllis Taoua, “Cultivating a Community of Viewers in Africa: How Sissako Frames Spectatorship and Performance in His Films,” Black Camera: An International Film Journal 13, no. 2 (Spring 2022): 27–52, doi: 10.2979/blackcamera.13.2.02. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press. For re- use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center (www.copyright.com, 508-744-3350). For all other permissions, please visit http://iupress.org.
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AbstractCritical discussion of Abderrahmane Sissako's major films, Life on Earth (1998), Waiting for Happiness (2002), Bamako (2006), and Timbuktu (2014), explores issues related to spectatorship, live performance, and intertextuality. In particular, this essay looks at how this filmmaker frames spectatorship within his film narratives to bring the process of image-making up for reconsideration. These self-reflexive moments are examined in relation to film as an art form, issues of genre, and the history of cinema. The essay also looks at how live performances are embedded alongside scenarios of audiovisual spectatorship to draw our attention to the formation of audiences in different African settings, and to suggest an analogy between live and recorded performances. Some attention is also given to intertextuality and how Sissako references classic films by Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Diop Mambety to cultivate an awareness of film history in his viewers. By drawing on and developing insights from contributions by Karin Barber, Tsitsi Jaji, and Akin Adesokan the essay seeks to define the importance of these meta-cinematic elements in the film narratives of one of the most impactful filmmakers of his generation.
Note18 month embargo; published 31 March 2022
VersionFinal published version