Film and ideology


AS we indicated in our first article on this fascinating modern subject, film is a combination of several arts, mainly story telling (in particular, theatre and narrative), cinematography, lighting, sound management , costumes and entertainment. A good film, therefore, depends on the good management of all the arts employed by the film makers. The essence of all this will be to make the life we see on the screen as close to real life as possible. Also as we illustrated in our last article on the subject of film, people watch film for different reasons, chiefly the following: · Telling stories to various audiences. · Providing entertainment of various types. · Education (for all). · Information dissemination (for all). · Ideological dissemination (mainly for mature people). But it must be noted that while specific films will reflect only one of these aspects at one time, a well constructed film will reflect several of them at the same time. This is because film is like a dance which is enhanced by a combination of attractions like dress, music, dance movements, speeches and even the food and drink that usually accompany such occasions. On its own, none of these attractions can make a dance the event that everyone will be talking about for a long time…..or until the coming of an equally (or even more) captivating one. In a well made film all these aspects are employed for the purpose of bringing out the main lesson or theme of the central story; and through the theme the film’s ideology is brought out. This is the way the filmmakers interpret the issues they are covering in the film. In the table below we give examples of issues and their ideological implications: The above scenario is clearly manifested in film by what we see on our film screens these days. The following are only a few examples: · American films which show that Americans (including former slave) are super humans. · Nigerian films showing that magic or juju (and not Western exploiters) is destroying Africa. · Zimbabwean condemnation of own cultural ethics. · South African films made by people who can’t even pronounce “Rolihlahla Mandela”. · Endless Zimbabwean serials in which actors can no longer pronounce their own Africanlanguage names and even try to laugh in English. · “La vie e belle” (Life is beautiful) an excellent African film which is not given its rightful advertisement for neo-colonial reasons) Research has also indicated that since the 1970s the use of film in education has greatly increased. It is also no longer uncommon for religious leaders of the various religions that exist to use films or film clips in their sermons. This is because it is far more impressive for a student to literally see a liberation war being fought and for church goers to also virtually see their Jesus being crucified on the cross than just to hear about them. In this day and age it is, indeed, difficult to imagine any aspect of human civilisation which does not make use of film in one way or another. The only surprising thing is why Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, does not seem to be able to respond in like manner. Asi chii nhai? Kungomirira mafirimu ezvekunamata anounzwa navatorwa chete! This certainly makes us want to understand the attributes of film which make it the most captivating teacher, preacher, singer, dancer and killer of all. To most people, especially the young, film is mainly a form of entertainment or a popular pastime they resort to when they have time to spare from their studies and their normal occupations. Politicians, preachers and other educators understand film to be a medium of communication. Safari people resort to film to project what they come across in their daily lives, although the pythons and elephants they show us on the screen are meant to be far more owe-inspiring than real ones. Film and ideology Next week: T. K. Tsodzo continues with his topic on film and ideology. To comment on this article send email on teyaknowledge@ yahoo.


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