Between “the Housewife” and “the Philosophy Professor”: Music, Narration and Address in Ousmane Sembene's Xala

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Abstract

The acclaimed Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene conceptualised himself as a modern day griot (West African oral performer), producing often didactic films that address a diverse spectatorship. Examining Xala, this paper argues that this address cannot be fully understood without attention to the film’s complex music/image relationships, which refigure classical and modernist film aesthetics to mobilise a discourse that recalls oral performance. In this way, Sembene negotiates the tensions of address generated by a spectatorship that is situated in the culturally hybrid spaces between the literate and the oral, the urban and the rural, and the global and the local.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-317
Number of pages12
JournalVisual Anthropology
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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