Two New Books by Professor Valérie Orlando
The Algerian New Novel: The Poetics of a Modern Nation, 1950-1979 (University of Virginia Press, 2017)
New African Cinema (Rutgers University Press, 2017)
The Algerian New Novel: The Poetics of a Modern Nation, 1950-1979:
Disputing the claim that Algerian writing during the struggle against French colonial rule dealt almost exclusively with revolutionary themes, The Algerian New Novel shows how Algerian authors writing in French actively contributed to the experimental forms of the period, expressing a new age literarily as well as politically and culturally. Looking at canonical Algerian literature as part of the larger literary production in French during decolonization, Valérie K. Orlando considers how novels by Rachid Boudjedra, Mohammed Dib, Assia Djebar, Nabile Farès, Yamina Mechakra, and Kateb Yacine both influenced and were reflectors of the sociopolitical and cultural transformation that took place during this period in Algeria. Although their themes were rooted in Algeria, the avant-garde writing styles of these authors were influenced by early twentieth-century American modernists, the New Novelists of 1940s–50s France, and African American authors of the 1950s–60s. This complex mix of influences led Algerian writers to develop a unique modern literary aesthetic to express their world, a tradition of experimentation and fragmentation that still characterizes the work of contemporary Algerian francophone writers.
New African Cinema:
New African Cinema examines the pressing social, cultural, economic, and historical issues explored by African filmmakers from the early post-colonial years into the new millennium. Offering an overview of the development of postcolonial African cinema since the 1960s, Valérie K. Orlando highlights the variations in content and themes that reflect the socio-cultural and political environments of filmmakers and the cultures they depict in their films.
Orlando illuminates the diverse themes evident in the works of filmmakers such as Ousmane Sembène’s Ceddo (Senegal, 1977), Sarah Maldoror’s Sambizanga (Angola, 1972), Assia Djebar’s La Nouba des femmes de Mont Chenoua (The Circle of women of Mount Chenoua, Algeria, 1978), Zézé Gamboa’s The Hero (Angola, 2004) and Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu (Mauritania, 2014), among others. Orlando also considers the influence of major African film schools and their traditions, as well as European and American influences on the marketing and distribution of African film. For those familiar with the polemics of African film, or new to them, Orlando offers a cogent analytical approach that is engaging.