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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Popular Ghanaian Cinema and 'African Heritage'
Author:Meyer, BirgitISNI
Year:1999
Periodical:Africa Today
Volume:46
Issue:2
Pages:93-114
Language:English
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:African culture
cinema
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/africa_today/v046/46.2meyer.html
Abstract:This paper discusses the popular cinema industry in Ghana, which emerged at the end of the 1980s. Mirroring urban people's struggles and dreams about a modern way of life, these low budget movies have become a major source of popular entertainment in the country's urban south. By contrast, the intellectual elites in general and established filmmakers in particular are highly critical of these products because of the disrespect which these films show with regard to African culture. The author argues that it is inadequate to approach popular cinema from an elitist point of view and to condemn it for its assault on African culture. She addresses this issue by focusing on perceived differences between high art and popular cinema. Comparing Kwaw Ansah's internationally much-acclaimed 'Heritage Africa' with popular products such as Nana King's 'Beast within' and A. Hackman's 'Not without', the author argues that these two types of films approach different audiences with different problems. While the former are concerned with the emancipation of the colonized intellectual and seek to restore authentic cultural roots, the latter focus on the intricacies of ordinary people's lives in the city without drawing any rigid opposition between African tradition and European modernity; here modernity is the context of everyday life. Bibliogr., notes, sum.
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