The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.


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08 January 2022

The sister-friend genre, women buddy films and some "chick flicks" by African women

The sister-friend genre, women buddy films and some "chick flicks" by African women by Beti Ellerson
Notes to continue...
"For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is rediscovered." Audre Lorde
In the documentary Les gracieuses by Fatima Sissani, six friends: Myriam, Sihem, Khadija, Kenza, Rokia and Leïla, who have known each other since childhood, continue to live in the same housing estate where they grew up in the greater Paris region.  "They have never left each other. A closely-bonded relationship. They talk about, joyfully and head-on, this almost amorous friendship and also about identity, class relations, spatial and social relegation...I saw them grow up and push the limits of solidarity further and further. They have always been there for each other, in difficult times, and also during the key events of their lives. And that feeling--amorous and collective--moves me a lot."
These real-life friends, "the gracious ones", reflect the many women-friendship stories related in the films by African women.
In women's buddy films, friendships between women and support among the women protagonists are the driving force of the narrative. Such as Rumbi Katedza's Playing Warriors, Tiana Rafidy's Lorety sy Mardy, Aldewolem by Yetnayet Bahru or Aya de Yopougon, an animation film by Marguerite Abouet. In her first film Laan (Girlfriends), Lula Ali Ismail relates the experiences of Souad, Oubah et Ayane, three childhood friends who live in the capital, Djibouti. Similarly, in Dhalinyaro, the friendship between three girls is the center of the story. Deka, Asma and Hibo, three 18 year-olds are about to take the baccalaureate exam. Their lives, though from different socio-economic backgrounds, are intertwined. Their strong friendship carries them together through their transition into adulthood. Similarly, in the animation film project Tibet Girls by Bruktawit Tigabu, "three African adolescent super heroines take the audience on a fun, imaginative and educational journey as they thrive to understand the changes that are happening to them and the struggles girls face everyday."

The “sister-friends genre” which focuses on a cohort of women uniting under a variety of themes, plays a role in the construction of the Foxy Five Web Series from South Africa: Womxn We, Blaq Beauty, Unity Bond, Femme Fatale, and Prolly Plebs. The series creator, Jabu Nadia Newman describes Foxy Five as an example of the web series as Radical Feminist Practice, exploring what intersectional feminism would look like on screen. In Apolline Traoré's Frontiers, four women travelers forge friendships resulting from the challenges and trepidations during their journey together.
The emergence of a “sex and the city” genre in African women’s filmmaking is a sign of the times where women get together and talk about themselves and relationships, "where women talk about their own bodies rather than being talked about." An African version of "Sex in the City": "chick flicks" featuring friends in their pursuit of love and romance, is a dominant theme in Nicole Amarteifio's An African City. After their return to Ghana, Nana Yaa, Sade, Ngozi, Makena and Zainab confide in each other about life and love.

Selection of articles on the African Women in Cinema Blog about sister-friend movies, women buddy films and "chick flicks" by African women

Dhalinyaro by/de Lula Ali Ismail (Djibouti)

The Foxy Five Web Series. Created and Directed by Jabu Nadia Newman (South Africa)

Tibeb Girls, an animation project by Bruktawit Tigabu (Ethiopia)

Frontières by Apolline Traoré : “Four women tackling African integration”

An African City directed by Nicole Amarteifio

Aya de Yopougon, an animation film by Marguerite Abouet

Lula Ali Ismaïl: Laan | Les Copines | Girlfriends
Rumbi Katedza : Playing Warriors 

Tiana Rafidy: Lorety sy Mardy

A Conversation with Yetnayet Bahru

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