Africa Film WebMeeting

Message from: Marja-Riitta Maasilta (
About: Ouedraogo vs. Sembene

Tue, 8 Oct 1996 09:36:04 -0400

Originally from: Marja-Riitta Maasilta <>
Originally dated: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 09:36:04 -0400

I would put the difference between Sembene and Ouedraogo in this way:
Sembene belongs to the older generation of African film-makers. His main
importance is in his themes and his proximity with his African audiences.
I don't appreciate too much his technical skills or film language. (My
students had the same opinion about Xala last spring, otherwise they found
the film extremely interesting, specially the way how it told about
Senegalese society.)

Ouedraogo, for me, is a professional film-maker whose intentions are not as
much political as artistic. I've always loved the way he transmits the
African way of living through his images (for ex. the long shot in Tilai
when camera is following the young couple moving from their village to the

But sincerely, if asked which one of these two is more important for African
cinema, I would still say Sembene. --- Or maybe Ouedraogo. Or both.
The point of view is so different that it's difficult to compare.

BTW, is there any sense any more to define someone _too western_ or _enough
African_ ? Aren't all the influences and technics so mixed that this kind of
definitions have come meaningless?

Mari Maasilta
University of Tampere, Finland (always between western and eastern)
> Well, I stand by my snap judgment. Not only would I put Yaaba up there
with my top ten favorites, I wouldn't put a lot of Sembene's films up there

>> ken harrow
> > Originally from: Zoe Salonitides
> <> > Originally dated: Wed, 2 Oct 1996 12:31:47 -0400
> >
> > Ken Harrow said:
> >
> > > 3.Yaaba is one of the best African films made
> >
> > I'm not sure about this... obviously it comes down to personal opinion,
> but can you really say Yaaba is one of the best? I haven't been fortunate
> enough to watch many African films, but from the ones I've seen (mainly
Ousmane Sembene's) I don't think Yaaba surpasses them. Idrissa Ouedraogo is
a fine filmmaker, and does a wonderful job in telling the story, but let's
not forget the other films which have made bigger contributions to African
> > And isn't Idrissa Ouedraogo constantly criticized for being too
"western" in his film techniques?

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