African Cinema: The View from Moscow

Conveners: Dr. Alexandra Arkhangelskaya (Institute for African Studies, Moscow, Russia); e-mail:, Dr. Daria A. Zelenova (Institute for African Studies, Moscow, Russia); e-mail:

African cinema, or a cinema about Africa, is one of the least studied in Russia, but at the same time one of the most empirical trends in modern African studies. The term "African cinema" combines not just cinema about Africa, not just cinema made by Africans, but cinema, made by the African immigrants outside of the "Dark Continent." African cinema is considered to be one of the world's new film schools. Georges Sadoul wrote in the "General History of Cinema": "In
1960, 65 years after the invention of cinema, it has not yet created any truly African feature film that is written, played, shot and edited by African black and voiced by an African Language". A few years later, after creation of first films by the young African states, Sadoul stated: "African cinema – is the youngest in the world. It only makes first steps in very difficult conditions. But there is no doubt that in the last third of the XX century, we'll see deeply talented works". This section makes the first attempt to revive interest in both academic and general public in Russia to the African film industry, as an instrument for understanding and research of Africa, its history, its problems, and perhaps, its future. The themes suggested for discussion are:
- the history of African cinematography;
- cinema as an instrument for understanding of African culture;
- Prospects and problems of contemporary African cinema;
- Soviet Cinema of Africa;
- What will happen to us? Cinema as a cultural bridge that makes Russia and Africa closer to each other.