Through the history of cinema there have been several revolutionary periods, which left their indelible mark on the motion picture industry, and would be milestones for future generations.
From the cinematic techniques of shot composition and editing in Sergie Eisenstien’s silent movie, Battleship Potemkin(1925) which is still highly influential in the 21st century.
The French New Wave (La Nouvelle Vague) in the late 50 and early 60s started by film critics (Truffat,Goddard, Chabrol,Rohmer,Bazin) who were tired of the same old mould, decided to throw convention to the wind and make their own films by their own rules.
The Film School Brats of Copolla, Speilberg, Lucas, Scorcese who during the 70s in their 20s entered a field dominated and populated by men 30-40 years older than them, and changed the game completely. The formula of films that had worked so well, from the start of talkies to that point, were no longer selling tickets. Younger audiences were bored and uninterested in the kind of films that had previously worked so well.These young filmMakers redefined what a Hollywood film was, inventing the Blockbuster. All those ginormous summer movies you watch now, wouldn’t exist without the risks they took doing something new and making films like Jaws, Star Wars, The Godfather, Indiana Jones
The Rebels in the 80s and 90s people like Spike Lee Soderberg, Tarantino, Rodriquez, The Coen Brothers exploded on the scene with amazing independent films and brought, yet another new era to cinema.
There was German Expressionism, Italian Neo Realism, Asian New Wave cinema. All of which have had some level of impact on many of the highly revered filmMakers in the world which is evident in their work and style.
Every era, has offered something new, something remarkable. Entertaining audiences, serving them with something fresh and inspiring filmMakers to take risks and try something different.
In recent times there have been whispers of an African New Wave when films like Congo’s Viva Riva and Kenya’s Nairobi Half Life started to get international attention. It seemed, like the indie movement that led to Easy Rider and break from the norm that lead to A Bout De Souffles , A Bande Apart . Young African directors were looking to tell stories in their own visual narrative.
While I am not sure there is an African New Wave quite yet , I do know that there is a rise of new voices, who are making gusty and gritty narratives far from what the Godfathers of African Cinema made, which were reflective, seminal, existential in nature. It’s marking a new stride for filmmakers, mixing their foreign influences with an idiosyncratic local flavour that doesn’t lose its own identity in imitation and that is a good thing, which can only get better.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Do you think there is an African New Wave, a Naija New Wave? If so why? If not , What can lead to one?