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Conflict and Controversy in Small Cinemas

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Edited By Janina Falkowska and Krzysztof Loska

This book examines small cinemas and their presentation of society in times of crisis and conflict from an interdisciplinary and intercultural point of view. The authors concentrate on economic, social and political challenges and point to new phenomena which have been exposed by film directors. They present essays on, among others, Basque cinema; gendered controversies in post-communist small cinemas in Slovakia and Czech Republic; ethnic stereotypes in the works of Polish filmmakers; stereotypical representation of women in Japanese avant-garde; post-communist political myths in Hungary; the separatist movements of Catalonia; people in diasporas and during migrations. In view of these timely topics, the book touches on the most serious social and political problems. The films discussed provide an excellent platform for enhancing debates on politics, gender, migration and new aesthetics in cinema at departments of history, sociology, literature and film.

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6. The image of living of local people in the film Timbuktu: Between the literal and the symbol (Paulina Cichoń)

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Paulina Cichoń

Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland

6. The image of living of local people in the film Timbuktu: Between the literal and the symbol

Abstract: This chapter is an analysis of the Abderrahmane Sissako latest movie Timbuktu in the perspective of symbolic and interpretive anthropology. The author analyzes the meanings and symbols referring to myths, African traditional beliefs and contemporaneity hidden in the poetics of images. This analysis in view of a deeper cultural understanding ends with a conclusion that Timbuktu carries a universal content: it speaks to us, but also it says something about us.

Keywords: Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako, interpretive anthropology, symbol, myth, African culture, terrorism

Introduction

Vivian Sobchack, film theoretician writing on the phenomenology of cinema, in one of her latest book says that:

Whether or not we go to the movies… we are all part of moving-image culture and we live cinematic and electronic lives. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to claim that none of us can escape daily encounters – both direct and indirect – with the objective phenomena of photography, cinematic, televisual and computer technologies and the network of communication and texts they produce. It is also not an extravagance to suggest in the most profound, socially pervasive, and yet personal way, these objective encounters transform us as embodied subject1.

In other words, “moving-image culture” has an enormous impact...

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