Monday, April 30, 2007


1997, Guinea, directed by Mohamed Camara

Best known as the first film from sub-Saharan Africa to confront the theme of homosexuality, Dakan is also a radical departure from the norms of African cinema on an aesthetic level. Where many directors from the continent eschew the use of close-ups - a choice often linked to the oral tradition, though the academic critic Josephine Woll has also traced this to the influence of Soviet cinema on several key African filmmakers, including particularly Ousmane Sembène - Mohamed Camara uses tightly focused shots, with, on occasion, fragments of a face filling the screen, to create an intense emotional drama, with a rich sense of the dilemmas, and dangers, faced by his lead characters.

Beyond the notable use of close-ups, Camara makes consistently interesting shot decisions - there's a particularly striking sequence of six shots contrasting Manga, one of the lead characters, with his mother, as the two begin a conversation - that underline the sense of claustrophobia (a number of the locations have the air of a huis clos), as well as the stark yet untidy choices that face young gay men (and, presumably, women) in a society like that of Guinea.

1 comment:

Jerome said...

This film had very good casting ...especially the role of Manga ...he is a strong yet childlike. The cinematography does no justice to Africa's beauty, but is powerful with the close-ups! The film will be enjoyed by millions over and over again!


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