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The Poetics of Radical Hope in Abderrahmane Sissako’s Film Experience

Olivier-Jean Tchouaffe

The Poetics of Radical Hope: The Abderrhamane Sissako Experience communicates pieces of evidence that Sissako is the most talented and the most sophisticated filmmaker of his generation. This imaginative excellence emanates from new aspirations to fashion an original African cinematic aesthetic for a politic of radical hope and creative adaptation. Sissako’s contribution extends to all aspects of the indigenous motion pictures industry to help rebuild the continent’s cultural infrastructures and create intellectual and cultural spaces to mobilize narrative strategies to contribute in the making of potent African collectives. Far from being abstract, Sissako's logic of contribution resists facile reading and demands a direct and profound engagement with the text. Sissako is one of the best filmmakers working today because his cinema constitutes a generative contribution to the contemporary production of African intelligibility. This logic of contribution helps to better articulate the historical logics and practices of a continent in constant throes of situational emergencies. The cinemas confront African colonial legacies to contemporary globalization discourses that grip the contemporary global condition, notably: political instability, poverty, illiteracy, digital divide, global warming and food shortages, diseases and the so-called "clash of civilization." « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 162Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
978-1-4985-3981-4 • Hardback • May 2017 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4985-3982-1 • eBook • May 2017 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
Olivier J. Tchouaffe is professor of film at the University of Texas at Austin.
Part I: On the Genealogy of the Camera-Eye and Sissako’s Poetic Possibilities
Part II: Aesthetic and Film Analysis
Chapter 4: Life on Earth (1998): Meditation on Belonging in a Globalized World
5: Heremakono (2002): On African Imaginative Landscapes, Frontiers, and Journeys
6: Bamako (2007): Africa, Cowboys, and Postcolonial Economic Blues.
Timbuktu (2015): Notes on Art, Terror, and Cosmopolitan Politics
Chapter 8: Conclusion: Marginal Subjectivities and Globalization: The Subaltern Speaking
About the Author
An enlightening and thought-provoking study that treats Sissako’s cinema as a locus of multiple practices and connections for the investigation of new modalities in contemporary African cinema. Tchouaffe’s compelling analysis highlights Sissako’s artistic intervention as one of the most important forms of resistance to multiple expressions of violence within the globalized world.
Julie Papaioannou, University of Rochester

Olivier J. Tchouaffe’s in-depth critical appreciation on the films of Abderahmanne Sissako is steeped in enduring social and political theory and modes of knowledge production. This book explores a sophisticated body of work with temporal and cosmological significance, and also highlights the beauty found in the banal and quotidian elements in Sissako’s portrayal of African lives. For this author, Sissako’s body of work is Africa’s gift to the world based on his presentation of positive utopias inherent in both premodern and modern civilizations. This book underscores how the filmmaker speaks to a world in which every civilization has its place in the universal rendezvous of victory.
Saheed Yinka Adejumobi, Seattle University