My original project was going to entail a semester long course— the second part to a year-long course on remakes. Currently I am teaching a fifth year French film class that examines French original films and their American remakes. I was planning on making the second part of this class an examination of African film remakes of African novels. In short, I found either the novel or its counterpart, the film remake, either
unavailable or unaffordable. But since I made some headway regarding a syllabus, I thought I would post this as it may be more feasible in the future and may be of interest/use to other teachers.
I. a. L’enfant noir, the novel, by Camara Laye It can be found at:
In 1953, Laye published his first novel, L'Enfant noir (The African Child, 1954, also published under the title The Dark Child), an autobiographical story, which narrates in the first person a journey from childhood
b. I found reference to the film , L’enfant noir, 1994 (director, Laurent Chevalier) at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112962/
I can not find it at any video rental store, nor online
II. a. The novel, L’aventure ambigue by Cheikh Hamidou Kane, (born 3 April1928 in Matam) : a Senegalese writer best known for his prize winning novel L'aventure ambiguë (Ambiguous Adventure), about the
interactions of western and African cultures. Its hero is a Fulani boy who goes to study in France. There, he loses touch with his Islamic faith and his Senegalese roots. "The cannon compels the body," notes the author, "the school bewitches the soul."
b. An article on the (tele)film L'Aventure ambiguë (1984), by Français Jacques Champreux, can be found at: id.erudit.org/iderudit/035968ar -http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=active&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=related:id.erudit.org/iderudit/035968ar
I can not find this film in stores or on-line
III. a. Sango Malo, the film , 1991,can be found for $25.00 at California newsreel (director: Bassek ba Kobhio)
b. Here is an article that makes reference to the film as originally a novel, Sango Malo: Le maitre du canton.
Bassek ba Kobhio's first film - from his own novel - is a critique of Cameroon's system of education that contrasts the outmoded approach of a headmaster educated in the traditional French style with the new
ideas of a freshly-minted graduate of the teacher training college in Yaoundé. The film's title combines the two men's names, and by the end it's hard to avoid the implication that there's more continuity here
than the younger man might like to think; he, too, imposes outside ideas without consulting the local population. The younger Malo's approach is based on the practical education philosophy of the Brazilian
Paulo Freire, and he initially seems to be a breath of fresh air, challenging traditional thinking and authorities (it briefly seems as though the film might veer off to become a Cameroonian entry in the 'noble teacher' genre, before the director rights the ship). Ba Kobhio's treatment is even-handed, underlining that such (relatively) radical ideas were far from uniting all students at the training college, while he's
careful to emphasize that the sometimes buffoonish headmaster has his redeeming qualities, and that he, too, has had to deal with the weight of local tradition.
Ultimately, the director is more interested in asking difficult questions of all sides in the debate rather than providing simplistic answers, though it's possible to read in the conclusion a sense that he favors a compromise between old and new, where a young teaching student uses a traditional French dictation exercise to spread knowledge of local conditions. That said, there's clearly a hint that some of Malo's ideas about social justice make sense to the faming population once they've had an opportunity to adapt such notions to their actual circumstances - and once they've been able to inject their own voices into the debate.
Nowhere can I find this novel!
IV. a. Sarrouhia—a novel and then a film- neither of which I can find purchasable! The film: 1986 (director Med Hondo).
b. This is a short reference that I can find that it was indeed derived from a novel: http://www.film.com/celebrities/abdoulaye-mamani/14790537 and:
Queen Sarraounia, an Azna leader in 19th century West Africa led resistance to French colonialism. Her story was told in a novel, _Sarraounia_,by Abdoulaye Mamani (1980), and a film based on the novel was released in the 1980s. (http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=h-africa&month=0309&week=c&msg=f/TTbGTopDYId/ j3j56oAQ&user=&pw=)
V. a. Ndeysaan (Le prix du pardon). 2002, (director Mansour Sora Wade) The film is discontinued on California Newsreel (http://www.newsreel.org/nav/title.asp?tc=CN0152&s=prix)
b. The novel, Ndeysaan, by Mbissane Ngom, also seems to be unavailable in stores or on-line. Here is a reference to the novel (and film)
“Ndeysaan’s” ambivalence stems from the artistic aspirations of the novelist who wrote it and the filmmaker who adapted it to the screen. Novelist Mbissane Ngom was educated in French colonial schools and wrote his novel “Le prix du pardon” in French; at the same time he wanted to preserve some memory of his own culture, the Lébou ethnic group of fishermen on the southern coast of Senegal. Director Mansour Sora Wade (also a Lébou) worked for eight years as an archivist on traditional culture for the Senegalese Ministry of Culture. In “Ndeysaan,” Wade moves beyond the folkloric, developing an epic style which resembles in spirit the storytelling techniques of a traditional griot. This does not prevent the film from experimenting with puppetry to recount mythic events, employing special visual effects and using a soundtrack by Youssou N'Dour and Wasis Diop. “Ndeysaan” is ultimately a meditation on change, particularly the ability – or inability, in the villagers’ eyes – of a person to truly change, and the costs such change might entail. A visually arresting fable with a strong sense of character and place, adapted from a novel by the same title, this exquisitely beautiful film is a moving tale about love, betrayal and redemption.”
VI a. The novel, The au harem D’archi Ahmed, (1983) by Mehdi Charef is quite affordable on amazon.com!
b. Charef is also the director who remade his own novel into the film, Le the au harem in 1985.
“It is entirely due to Mehdi Charef that in today's French Cinema Beur filmmakers like Abdel Kechiche (La faute à Voltaire) and Malik Chibane (Douce France) are getting instant success and recognition.He is recognized as the trend setter of Beur Cinema for having given a distinctive image to Arab youths by directing "Le thé au harem d'Archimède" in 1985.His film won prestigious Jean Vigo prize in 1985.This film is based on the autobiographical novel written by Mehdi Charef for which Costa Gavras provided financial support as its producer.Le thé au harem d'Archimède talks about the marginal figures of French society for whom there are no opportunities to progress in life,no jobs to provide them with a decent living.These are the people who know that hollow slogans of liberty,equality and fraternity are of absolutely no use to them.It is the light tone of this film which will captivate viewers.Those who know French suburbs from "La Haine" are for a great shock as there is less violence as compared to Mathieu Kassovitz's film.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090171/#comment
This film is unavailable in stores and on-line….
VII. a. Xala, by Ousmane Sembene, 1973, can be found on amazon.com for $50.00 to $190.00 in paperback!
“ It isthe story of a El Hadji Abdou Kader Beye, a rich businessman struck by what he believes to be a curse of impotence ("xala" in Wolof) on the night of his wedding to his beautiful, young third wife. El Hadji
grows obsessed with removing the curse through visits to marabouts, but only after losing most of his money and reputation does he discover the source to be the beggar who lives outside his offices,
whom he wronged in acquiring his fortune.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ousmane_Semb%C3%A8ne)
b. The film , Xala, was directed by Sembene too, in 1975. It can be found on amazon.com for $160.00-$235.00!
VIII. a. Trois petits cireurs, the novel, by Francis Bebey, 1972. available, for 5 euros at: http://www.africultures.com/php/index.php?nav=livre&no=7197