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Chinese learn more about African Film and TV

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

12-28-2015 17:46 BJT

By Miroslav Atanasov, Ph.D., Renmin University of China
Literature and visual arts are an inspiration to the human soul and windows to the world. They are some of the best ways for a culture to get to know another. In the age of globalization and sophisticated technology, visual art is a useful tool for cross-cultural exploration.


With a tremendous increase in exchanges between China and African countries, the need has arisen for greater mutual understanding to reduce stereotypes. 

Accordingly, on December 11, Zhejiang Normal University (ZNU) in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province opened a center for research in African Film and TV.

The center's director, Liu Hongwu, said, "Chinese people's understanding of Africa is still limited, and many Africans often equate China to nothing more than food and martial arts."
ZNU had launched African studies in the early 1990s. In 1998, it witnessed the opening of the Center for African Studies at Peking University in Beijing.

The university has recently opened a new Film and TV Research Center that will make important contributions to the China-Africa cross-cultural communication field. The Chinese media are already present in Africa.

CCTV studios in Nairobi, Kenya bring African news from an African perspective to international audiences. In 2011 and 2013, TV stations in Kenya and Tanzania aired a Chinese TV family comedy series, which gained popularity with locals.

Starting from September, local audiences in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa will be given access to 30 Chinese TV series and movies through the Star Times – a leading Chinese-run channel in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Not many Chinese are familiar with the wealth of African literature, history, lifestyle, art, and film. Therefore, it would be helpful for Chinese audiences to watch more African films.

They are often long, but the present realities of African life can be depicted in an effective and entertaining manner. Nollywood (Nigerian film industry) comes second in the world in the number of movies produced, after Bollywood, India.    

During colonialism African films were primarily produced by colonial powers to serve their exploitation agenda and did not give Africans their own voice.  Hence, those films claimed African culture had begun with the arrival of the white man, but that's clearly is not the case. 

African cinema has progressed during post-colonial years and attempts to represent the heartbeat of the continent. Its current focus is on social and political themes rather than commercial interests. It explores the deep cultural conflicts between the traditional past and modern times.

It is considered part of the so-called Third Cinema – a movement in film-making, which started in Latin America half a century ago, that rejects the commercial Hollywood approach, and promotes social justice and revolutionary ideas.

African filmmakers believe their task is to express communal experiences. The patterns of African oral literature often recur in their films. Such methods make African films a joy to watch.

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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