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Storytelling in World CinemasContexts$
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Lina Khatib

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163378

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163378.001.0001

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‘Postcolonial Beaux’ Stratagem

‘Postcolonial Beaux’ Stratagem

Singing and Dancing Back with Carmen in African Films

(p.90) ‘Postcolonial Beaux’ Stratagem
Storytelling in World Cinemas

Yifen T. Beus

Columbia University Press

This chapter argues that one of the most effective strategies of resisting the Western centre is through the ‘writing of Otherness’ — namely, by using adaptations of Western texts as a method of writing back. The African cinematic adaptations of the Romantic novella and opera, Carmen (1845), show how such films utilise the motif of Carmen and intertextuality as rhetorical tropes, navigating between the colonial and postcolonial story spaces in an act of returning the gaze while displaying a self-reflexivity about the politics of storytelling and representation. By appropriating and thus re-writing a famous Western story about a non-Western, exotic femme fatale, the African Carmen is able to use the same cultural specificity as portrayed in colonial writing to deconstruct the whole myth of this ‘primitive’ dance and to construct a new story that is African in its very essence, while recognising the obvious hybrid nature of the medium itself.

Keywords:   Carmen, cinematic adaptations, Otherness, rhetorical tropes, postcolonial story spaces, politics of storytelling, politics of representation, femme fatale, African Carmen, colonial writing

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