Filming African Creation Myths

in Religion and the Arts
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Abstract

African film directors have made use of mythology and oral storytelling in countless circumstances. These filmmakers have explored the core role that orality plays in ideas of African identity and used mythological themes as allegorical forms in order to address present-day issues while working under dictatorial regimes. They have turned to mythology and oral storytelling because of their determination to convey an African philosophical approach to the world, often to counter the colonial and neo-colonial oversimplification of African cultures seen as bereft of grand narratives on the self and the world. Identity construction, critical allegorical messages, and philosophical approaches are discussed in this paper by looking at the interplay between verbal narrative and images in two “epic” films: Keïta, l'héritage du Griot (1995) directed by Dani Kouyaté, and Yeelen (1987) directed by Souleymane Cissé.

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