The African Channel-Critique

http://www3.amherst.edu/~jflores10/native.html

Wonderful work pals, your channel is great. I love the home page. It constitutes various images and captions about different issues; links to detailed information just like any other internet-based channels.  Holistically, the project is good and the links between the sections is reasonable, although the technical difficulties do place a hurdle when viewing the channel.

The Going native section brings some pretty good information to light. Whys is there such vast differences in the selling methods of the US. Assuming that sales is based on popular tastes, and consumer behavior, it can be concluded that the US is more prone to racial differences than the British. I would really like to know why. Or maybe one can say that the show does not sell in the US and so National Geographic does not spend much money in marketing it, which shows as lack of the kind of information found on the British. Still this is due to consumer tastes and signifies an apalling reluctance to  learn about African by Americans, despite its use in various commercials, movies etc.

The section “Live from Africa” is a very nice tinge to the channel. While Somalia and piracy is very important it is not the only issue in Africa and placing two videos on Somalia does not give a general picture of Africa. Given the space, a video from a different part of Africa should have been placed with one Somalia video. Also other highlights could be written on the sides although the videos are not available.

I loved the parody video in the “Dramatizing Africa” section. It is true that it is always about the super power’s interests in Africa. These fictional countries, no doubt, undermine the significance of these countrues and care used as outlets political views. The producers will argue that they use fictional countries just to avoid conflcts with particular countries. This, as The African Channel rightly tells us, does not justify the devaluation of other countries using fiction as a veil through which direct argument cannot be placed.

Overall, this is a good project and i applaud the members.

Advertisements

?

While it is the end of the semester I am still faced with some challenging questions I would like to share. With the American movies we have watched in mind: How much of an effect do these movies have on the public? While of course they provide awareness , do they inspire action? Or, have these films only inspired pontification?  Will this humanitarian film trend continue or die out like some other random trend? Will it move from a central theme in movies to one in music? But most importantly, what’s right and what’s real in the representation of Africa? What do you guys think?

Fashion

I immensely enjoyed reading, watching, and simply looking at all the images of the fashion project. It’s hard to give an extremely detailed assessment without choosing one individual project for the each had so many facets. This group did a very good job on the aesthetics of the website, even including an intro page introducing the audience to the subject of the project by way of a slideshow video of various “African inspired” fashions accompanied with music. Also, on that note, throughout the entire project I found it amazing that each participant was able to use almost every single piece of media to accompany, enliven, and present his or her text and that each individual project provided link upon link of material, in an ascetically pleasing manner,  to help substantiate their claims. It was extremely obvious each group member put a lot of time and effort into websites, not only creating the texts and visual aids, but also the links and multiple web pages. I was especially impressed when I clicked on the link for American Apparel on the Gallery page of the “mainstream” site expecting to be directed to the actual American Apparel site to find the examples; I was instead directed to yet another page created by the individual with selections from the store.

While I believe this project is indeed amazing, one major problem I see with the website as a whole is that there is no uniformity. There is nothing for me, or the audience to look at and know that this page is related to the other and so forth. One way to fix this would be to implement a common template or design to the pages. If this is achieved the website would look even more put together and professional. Also, on a smaller note, the menu or at least a home link should be made available on every page. If this project had a future, I would suggest offering a mission statement of some sort to centralize the magazine’s main objective because there seems to be a lot of different types of comparisons and analysis going on. Once again, overall this was an awesome project! Good Job!

The Constant Gardener

On the surface, The Constant Gardener is a great film, both for its plot as well as its execution. I first came to like it because it was able to capture and hold on to my attention to the point where I became emotionally involved in the film and outcome of the characters. “Will he be able to save the little boy?” I know that the filmmakers were able to achieve this through the perfectly integrated love story. What also made me like this movie is the utilization of the flashback format in which the movie is made up of constant flashbacks to help move along the story. These flashbacks come with a sense of a pause, a sort of “oh wait, but look,” which adds an element of thrill and excitement which keeps the audience involved in the story, asking questions. However, upon further examination I leave my cloud of superficial viewing and see that this text is just like many others we have reviewed this semester. This film whether knowingly or not subtlety utilizes the common stereotype of Africa as the mythical place of life where things are pure and free from the evils of westernization. The two main characters, Tessa and Justin find the truth in Africa.

An image of Africa- Critique

I thought that this was a pretty interesting project. Particularly the point where the writer points out that shifts in depictions and descriptions of Africa have “progressed” only because of changes in globalization, and far less than we would assume. I think that this is a great point because it seems to really hint at the connection between commerce and racial depictions within art. While on the surface the two could be seen as unrelated I think, throughout history we seen serveral examples of this dynamic. From Benito Cerino to Heart of Darkness I think the relationship between commerce and the depiction of Africa is a useful lens to analyze literature through.

Ruined

I think one of the cooler parts of Ruined was the interaction between the cast and the audience. There are a few moments when the cast breaks the 4th wall that really appealed to me, notably the scene in the play’s opening where the Professor chugs down a Fanta. I feel like when you break the 4th wall appropriately, you can really create a deeper connection between audience and cast. While some can deride such a move as only going for a cheap laugh, I think when done properly you can use this device to make your characters a bit more realistic and lifelike, ironic for such an abstract action on a stage. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_wall

Cradle of Life

While screening “Laura Croft Tomb Raider and the Cradle of Life” I attempted to look closely at every scene to try and see any representation of Africa, however as the film progressed I was sucked deeper and deeper into the film and became lost within the text, whether if this was just because I am heterosexual male, or the movie is just that good is unknown. It wouldn’t be until our group discussion and examination I would realize how dangerous this immersement actually is. Upon my first viewing, I pointed out at the wedding, one of the first scenes of the movie, that there was a quick shot of a man in “traditional African clothing.” Trying to hang on to whatever I could find, I thought, why was that random man there with all of those other white people in dresses and suites? What is his significance? Of course what really needed to be taken from the film in reference to Africa is the proliferation of the view of Africa as this mysterious and magical place where life was first created and which holds many dark secrets which can only be found by climbing a mountain to find a lost and ancient tribe. Furthermore, what makes it dangerous to be an unconscious observer of this film is that recreates the colonial image of the rich white group of men and women coming into Africa and utilizing the indigenous people to guide and help them on their journey in Africa.