Funding, ideology and the aesthetics of the development film in postcolonial Zimbabwe

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This article considers the relationships between aesthetics and ideology in donor-funded ‘development’ film-making from Zimbabwe, examining in particular how the films’ producers have attempted to popularize a genre of film-making that has its roots in colonial cinema. Making close reference to two productions from the Harare-based Media for Development Trust (MFD) – Neria (Godwin Mawaru, 1992), and Everyone’s Child (Tsitsi Dangarembga, 1996) (both of which may be regarded as archetypal examples of their genre) – the article demonstrates how the films deploy a range of aesthetic strategies to imbue a set of narratives drawn from colonial development films with greater impact and cultural resonance for contemporary local audiences. The article also suggests that close analysis of these strategies may provide insights into the relationships between the films’ aesthetic dimensions and wider ideological issues in the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of African Cinemas
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2010


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