Sankofa (Day 5) – Prep

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2 thoughts on “Sankofa (Day 5) – Prep

  1. Haile Gerima is an Ethiopian director, story teller and philosopher who is out to set messages on good and bad of human nature such as slavery and colonialism. He labels himself as a third world film maker. In Haile’s one on one session with Riz kahian he states the meaning of why he produces the type of films and stories he does. His stories consist of tales about his cultures and ancestor basic stores that define him. He is famous for being a very direct writer and getting straight to the point. In the interview with Riz kahian it was reveal that Haile stories exposes how spoiled some of the white people are. He stated that most film editors and directors seek out white people in their films to make there movie/story more credible. He discuss how Hollywood puts the implication that in order for a film to become a reliable source it has to consist of white actors, and in his stories and films unlike most people he does not follow the Hollywood guidelines. Due to the struggle he had with racism in Chicago it seem as if he was inspired to reveal the racism in film by not allowing the himself to fall in the stereo type of black film directors. One of his most popular film works was Sankofa which did not only attract the black audiences but the whites as while. He stated that this was a film about the displacement of African intellectual. In the interview Gerima was ask how important it to be recognized is as a great film director and he said that that was not important at all his main objective is to get the message and tales of his people out.

    “If I get a white person in the movie /commercial it becomes a more valid” (Gerima)
    “I do not compromise them by releasing whites from the responsibility” (Gerima)

    How much criticism was applied in making this non-Hollywood rule film?
    How many black directors were impacted this?
    Did his movies make sales like the normal Hollywood authors?

  2. Dominique Williams

    Haile Gerima, to me is a genius in creating his films. He looks deep into his culture and other cultures. He wants to know the true meaning of each culture and even his own culture. Gerima was born and raised in Ethiopia and went to the United States not knowing anything about slavery and what a black person was. In his movie, Sankofa, he wanted to show the view of life through the African American and African point of view. Gerima made a point that African Americans had no say in anything and strived for freedom. Blacks fight back for their freedom against the white culture. Haile Germia argues that knowing the lives of the past ancestors is important. Germia did not want any of his films to be controlled by anyone but him and that is the reason it took so long for him to produce Sankofa. Sankofa is seen through the view of a African woman named Mona. Monawho visits her ancestral experience on a new world plantation as Shola. Germia wanted to go away from the hollywood view of a white person and have white actors that sanction the story. He wanted to have a African American woman as his lead character. Germia makes his movies not to please any race. He does his movie making in Europe because the US has this notion of white supremacy. Sankofa means go back and fetch it. I think he gave it this name because he is going back in history to how our ancestors lived and their culture. There culture has impacted African culture in many ways and some traditions are still used in todays generations. I think that Germia’s idea about making the film about the struggle of an African American woman is a good idea. Even though a movie about an African American woman in todays life is out of the norm, he wants people to understand the struggle our ancestors had to go through and how they overcame adversity. Sankofa deals with slavery in a way that I am not sure any Hollywood production ever has. The film deals with the physical and psychological effects that slavery had. Germia wants this film to touch the hearts of whoever watches it. I think that this is going to be a great movie to watch in class tomorrow.

    Key Quotes:
    1. Sankofa- Knowledge of the past is integral in the fulfilling of the future

    1. Why do you think that Germia thinks the past is more important than current events?
    2. Does the perception of the Africans in the movie fit the stereotypical ideas people have on African?

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