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« Book Launch in London - The 1961 Cameroon Plebiscite - Choice or Betrayal by John Percival | Main | The “Anglophone Problem” in Cameroon: A creation of “Counter Elite Intellectuals”? »

September 17, 2008

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UnitedstatesofAfrica

While I applaud the iniative, the documentary looks tacky, disorganized and cheap. There's no context or background information, no cited sources, interviews, antropologist or Historian's insight. It overall looks unacademic and cheap.

But atleast we have to start from somewhere.

Dibussi

Hi UnitedstatesofAfrica,

This is merely a movie "trailer", i.e., an excerpt from the actual movie. If you want to know more, read my detailed review of the documentary on this very site at: http://www.dibussi.com/2008/07/movie-review-ku.html

According to that review:

"The documentary’s compelling narrative is interspersed with interviews with a number of experts such as historians Henri Kah and Julius Ngoh of the University of Buea; cultural anthropologist and legendary photographer Pa Emmanuel Mbwaye; Sociologist and Mayor of Limbe, Daniel Matute; and Bakweri notable and Secretary-General of the Bakweri Land Claims Committee (BLCC), Mola Njoh Litumbe."

As for being cheap, I think the producers work with the funds and resources at their disposal. So, I don't think the folks at AFRICAphonie have anything to apologize on that score.

BTW, you can help encourage such indigenous efforts at promoting our history by buying a copy of the full length documentary.

UnitedstatesofAfrica

"As for being cheap, I think the producers work with the funds and resources at their disposal. So, I don't think the folks at AFRICAphonie have anything to apologize on that score." - Dibussi

Of course I am aware of the limited funds usually available for such indigenous projects. However, there's a way of making something more expensive that it actually is. Just like clothes; some people wear "second-hand" clothes so well that you would never guess they are "used".
The problem with limited funds is everywhere, even in the Hollywood scene. Independent films like Little Miss Sunshine and The Visitor ( a remarkable film by the way) are made with very limited budget. They only get lucky when they find a major distributor. Now, I am not comparing the infant stage of the Cameroon movie industry to Hollywood. I can't it to their next door cousin, Nollywood. I am just merely stating that you don't always need funds to make something look more refined and less cheap. The background for example in the documentary is unispiring; they don't take advantage of the lush landscape. The "indigenes" who are "battling" with the Germans could have been organized better. Those scenes come across as haphazardly disenchanting. Ngwane's monologue too needed some work. Sorry to be this picky but as a movie critic, I was too tempted to point out such avoidable mistakes...easily "fixed" without "funds".

With that said, I do appreciate the initiative and I hope it is the start of something progressive. Ngwane will easily take his place, in Cameroon's history, as one of the pioneers of Cameroon filmmaking.

I will definitely get myself a copy to support such "indigenous efforts"...whether or not it will be ranked amongst my choice for best documentaries, that's another issue altogether.

Nini

Interesting debate indeed! Mr. UnitedAfrica, while you have a point, I think you are slightly off target because you're mixing two distinct film genres.

Based on the excerpt that I have watched, this is not a "movie" in the traditional sense of the word, like the films that you mention in your posting, but a documentary - a simple visual narration of a historical event. The approach to both genres is totally different.

In a regular movie, we will not have an individual like Ngwane popping up to give commentary. However, this is very common practice in documentaries. You just need to watch national geographic, CNN or even CRTV to understand what I am talking about. So you comparison to hollywood and nollywood completely misses the point.

By the way, I believe that the Bakweri extras in the documentary are not actors re-enacting a scene but are there to give the narrative ample "local color". So discussing their "acting skills" again misses the point.

Regarding your views of Ngwane's cameo appearance, I can tell you that as an Afrocentric Cameroonian woman, I am titilated by his strong,and forceful voice, his confident use of the English langguage and his beautiful Cameroonian accent. I suspect yu would have been delighted if he came across as "polished" (i.e., with a "Whiteman" accent), but he is just fine as is.

Nini

UnitedstatesofAfrica

"So you comparison to hollywood and nollywood completely misses the point." - Nini

You do know that Hollywood and Nollywood make documentaries too right?

"By the way, I believe that the Bakweri extras in the documentary are not actors re-enacting a scene but are there to give the narrative ample "local color". So discussing their "acting skills" again misses the point."- Nini

I wasn't referring to their "acting skills". If you actually read what I wrote, I said the Bakweri extras appeared "haphazardly disenchanting". That is not the same thing as "acting skills". I was simply implying that the scenes could have been properly coordinated so as to give the documentary an ingredient of realism. The scene with the extras looked unreal and posy.
Also, when you are reenacting an actual event, you are suppose to actually "ACT" out the evnet. Thus, reenacting actual events shouldn't be done by extras who are not "Actors". Maybe you should take your own advice and watch more documentaries on CNN, National Geographic and even CRTV.

"Regarding your views of Ngwane's cameo appearance, I can tell you that as an Afrocentric Cameroonian woman, I am titilated by his strong,and forceful voice, his confident use of the English langguage and his beautiful Cameroonian accent. I suspect yu would have been delighted if he came across as "polished" (i.e., with a "Whiteman" accent), but he is just fine as is." - Nini

Point of correction, Ngwane's appearance is not a "Cameo". A cameo is when someone appears briefly in the movie and then vanishes, not showing up again. Usually a well-celebrated and easily recognizable person. Ngwane is the narrator and he plays a big part in the documentary.
Now back to your allegations of me wanting Ngwame to sound more "polished" aka like a white man. If you actually read what I wrote, I said Ngwane's "monologue" needed some work. I didn't say his "accent"; I said "monologue". Emphasis is on the "monologue" and nothing is made mentioned of his "accent". Do yourself a favor, scroll up and read it again. I don;t know how your mind was able to concoct such an offensive allegation. Imagination can either be a gift or a curse. Use it wisely.

My problem was strictly on the "monologue". It sounded more like a story-telling gathering than an academic documentary. Look at when he is describing the first battle between the Bakweris (led by Kuva) and the Germans; he doesn't utilize dates, he doesn't talk about the size of the army, no mention is made of war circumstances, war weapons, Kuva's military strategy etc etc. As I said before, take your own advice and watch more of national geographic.

I know I'm coming across and being overly critical but that wasn't intention. I have applauded the initiative and Ngwane for always being at the forefront of creative progress in Cameroon. I did, however, felt the need to address these baseless accusations levied on my critique. I also deemed the critique necessary because for any establishment to grow, it needs critics to point out its flaws. Even creative greats like Achebe and Hollywood giants like Spielberg ( even though he hasn't had a good movie in years) know the value of the critic and respect it.

Thank you and have a good day.

Ma Mary

Obtain the movie, watch the entire thing, and then post a substantive critique. It looks like you have a lot to say, USMinnetonka. Make yourself vulnerable too.

While doing that, there are other Southern Cameroonian documentaries that you may want to look at as well:

http://www.southerncameroonsig.org/2006/02/the_dawn_of_a_n.html

There is the excellent and very effective "Standing with the Students" documentary created by the Ambazonia group during the University of Buea demonstrations, shot with a tiny handheld camcorder.

http://standingwiththestudents.org/

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=8040444618278039337&hl=en
http://www.southerncameroonsig.org/2007/06/standing_with_t.html

There is also Neba Ambe's "The Making of A Lesser Man". I have a copy but have no idea how it is currently being distributed. Excellent documentary technique:

http://www.francewatcher.com/2005/11/new_film_about_.html

Have fun with that.

UnitedstatesofAfrica

Ma Mary, didn't you earlier say I was in Wichita? then in Mankato? and now I am in Minnetonka? hahahaha. All fading hope of an independent Southern Cameroons nation must be messing with your head. Make up your mind and choose one location. If you want to make me appear like a globetrotter at least take me to fancy places. Don't take me back and forth between cow farms in the deserted Mid West of America.

With that said, I appened to have watched all of the aforementioned documentaries. As a matter of fact, I might have even watched them long before you got your hands on them. Film happens to be my forte. Unlike you, I know what I am saying.

Louis_Mbua

Mr. United States,

You come across as a prejudiced fellow. You continue to ignore the information freely given to you that this is but a summary to take a swipe at the producers and actors without bothering to watch the entire film. While people are free to hold different opinions in theatre arts, film and drama, only a prejudiced person would draw definite conclusions on a critique on a film or drama he has never seen in completion.

One is of the opinion that either people are:

1. Paid to denigrate the work of well-meaning Cameroonians.

2. They enjoy the oppression of the minority for the obscene benefit of their own ethno-fascist agenda in the pretext of a unitary charade. Else why would a well meaning man condemn a movie before he has actually had the chance to watch it in its entirety?

Have a good day.

UnitedstatesofAfrica

Mr. Mbua, I would advice you to read my critique thoroughly before calling me a "prejudiced fellow". Ethno-fascist agenda??? I see Dibussi.com is now the place to practice the grammar aspect of dissertations. Where do I sign up?

Ma Mary

USAMankato, you may want to consider starting your own blog, since you spend so much time trolling other's blogs. Put up your own ideas to scrutiny, for a change.

You have been in Mankato (Minnesota State University) and Wichita at various times. I do not have time to track you right now, but I can find you within a matter of hours, except that it is not worth a moment of my time.

Cheers

UnitedstatesofAfrica

Ma Mary, I would spare you the trouble of a double attack and quote from an earlier posting

"Ma Mary,

I see you are still the holier-than-thou idiotic buffoon whose endless prattle has been a call for concern.

You started off by locating me in Wichita, then you took me to Mankato and then to Minnetonka and then back to Mankato. Hahahahaha. I should expect such antics from a mad woman like you. I see your husband is not satisfying you enough ( if at all you have a husband. Wenches like you are often unfortunate in that department)...that is why you aimlessly wonder the internet with this SCNC crab, making false statements to bloat your reputation.

Beating a baby? don't flatter yourself woman. I have told you and your cohorts time and again that the SCNC is not going anywhere because you do not have the support and sympathy of the masses. You are busy forming governments in exile, does the common man in Southern Cameroon know about this? what have you buffoons done to win offer the market women, the jobless college students? You fools don't even know the magnitude of what you are doing. You seem so proud of your internet movement. Do the people of Southern Cameroons have access to the internet? It is just laughable to see your history club ,disguising under the name of a pressure group, talking about lofty things they know nothing about.


I don't have to prove anything to a filthy caricature like you or anybody else on the INTERNET...you know nothing about what I do and what I have achieved and what I still have to achieve. The internet should remain what is it...the INTERNET. I won't sign "New York" under my name like Legima Goat to try and feel important...why? because I want to impress a bunch of faceless pseudo-intellectuals on the internet? PLEASE!! I have fun with this because I know what is...But then again, you are not of this generation. That would explain your interaction with the internet.

You come here and take yourselves os seriously. Hahahahaha. You talk on the internet as if you are in the battle front in Cameroon. Is it on the postnewsline. com that the Southern Cameroons shall become a state. IDIOTS!!! I feel sorry for you guys. Maybe you should take your own advice and stop beating a baby."


Have a good day!!


Joe

Mr. United States, in case you missed it, there is a tool on the left hand panel of this blog called "live traffic feed". It shows where visitors come from. Ma Mary has consistently insisted that you are resident in Mankato in the state of MN

You posted your comment at 6: 29 pm. And according to the feed, "Mankato, Minnesota arrived on "Dibussi Tande: Scribbles from the Den" - 18:11:00"

And according to the feed's archives, which you can check yourself, each time that you have posted a comment on this thread, it is always a few minutes after "Mankato Minnesota" logged in. Coincidence? I doubt it...

So please chill and just focus on the issues.

UnitedstatesofAfrica

JOE,
Ma Mary said I was in Wichita, Mankato and Minnetonka all within a time span of 24 hours...I didn't know there was a tour de Amerique...and people are allowed to use laptops while cycling? better still, they can internet on the road? even in those deserted countryside areas? WOW! I'm amazed.

Either Ma Mary is plain stupid or Dibussi needs to check his live feed. But I am a 100 percent positive that Ma Mary is just PLAIN STUPID!!

Don't make me question you too

Have a good weekend!!

Joe

How about this?

1.According to the feed, "Mankato, Minnesota arrived on 'Dibussi Tande: Scribbles from the Den'. 15:21:26"

2. At 03:29 PM [i.e., 15:29] UnitedstatesofAfrica leaves a comment

The evidence is irrefutable!!

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