She didn't want to meet me, Marriage can be treated - Pastor Chere


Interview with artist Dagmawit and Pastor Chere on the Seifu show with host Seifu Fantahun. She didn't want to meet me, Marriage can be treated - Pastor Chere. Other interesting details emerge, how for example women are represented in greater audience numbers than men in Addis Ababa cinema halls. Unlike another researcher’s description of how women attending cinemas in Kano are considered prostitutes, a popular Amharic anecdote paints the cinema as a more female space as it explains that while men watch the English Premier League, women go to the cinema, writes the author.


Part of the pleasure of this book is that the author has spent eons interviewing numerous key figures, watching and analyzing different types of film production, and along the way getting a fairly good understanding of Ethiopian culture. He adeptly synthesizes the Ethiopian film industry by offering new and localized perceptions and exploring specific films from global film studies perspective. The author doesn’t fail to point out most of the film’s low production values, often hackneyed and unoriginal scripts. He rather stresses the need for African film and media studies to look beyond the critical discourse that has lingered through the scholarship for decades and learn from the pleasure and popularity generated by popular video films in diverse African contexts.


The book is divided into three parts, the first is devoted to the history of film production in Ethiopia; the second to define the features of “yefiker film/love film”,  the rise of “assikiñ yefiker film/humorous love film”,  violence and order in the “lib anteltay film/suspense film” and the “yebeteseb film/family film”; and the third to the industry and promoting, producing and perceiving of Amahric film genres. The ubiquitous ‘fiker‘/love as an organizing principle in national Ethiopian culture and, by extension, Amharic cinema, provide the focus for various perspectives, which at once are more straightforward and more difficult to flesh out.


At the center of this book are genres of a selection of the important films attached to the different terms which the author says are expressive of the commercial and critical level of success the films have achieved in Ethiopia. He describes the major Ethiopian film genres and how they reflect the social and cultural concerns of audiences. “The ever-present nature of fiker (love) in popular Ethiopian cinema is most obvious when observing Amharic descriptions of film genres. Fiker can accompany any genre appellation associated with the film, acting as a central catalyst in the system of Amharic film genres,” he writes. The author shows how in the screening schedules of privately-owned cinemas “genre terms become more visibly attached to films as the genre is commonly the second piece of information about a film after its title.”

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