Time, Rhythm, and the Undead in Postcolonial Cinema
African Humanities and the Arts
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Sales Date: 2022-09-01
For too long, the approach to seemingly universal experiences like love, death, and even time in film has been dominated by the Global North. But what if such explorations developed horizontally instead? Drawing from both European and African cultural theorists, including Gilles Deleuze and Wole Soyinka, Vlad Dima invites us to consider what happens to postcolonial African film if we no longer privilege the idea of time. How else might we understand the cinematic image, and how would its meanings change? Meaninglessness: Time, Rhythm, and the Undead in Postcolonial Cinema is a study of meaning and meaninglessness through the figure of the undead, beginning with francophone Africa and extending to postcolonial France. Through the analysis of films like Mati Diop’s Atlantics and Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s Miraculous Weapons, Dima shows how the African cinematic image may produce meaning without any attachment to European time, and how that meaning is connected instead to the philosophy of negritude and to the notion of rhythm. Meaninglessness introduces the concept of the rhythm-sequence as a new way to understand the African moving image.
“Vlad Dima offers an important re-evaluation of the meaning (less-ness) of time in postcolonial cinema through a deep and compelling exploration of the undead from Africa to postcolonial Paris. The book casts a unique light on the entanglement of time, death, and love in a haunting way. So much to take in, not only in the text but also between the lines, or as the author would say, ‘between the shots.’”
—BÉNÉDICTE BOISSERON, professor of Afroamerican and African studies, University of Michigan