Call for papers: "New Afrikaans-language cinemas"
The idea of the “new” as used in this call refers to the contemporaneity of Afrikaans cinemas as well as the generation or activation of conceptual and theoretical frameworks that have not yet been brought into conversation with or derived from, Afrikaans cinemas. Here, newness may be seen in terms of content, form or approach, where a non-contemporary Afrikaans-language film is critically repositioned and analysed through a contemporary conceptual-theoretical lens.
In the six years since contemporary Afrikaans-language cinemas was described as “a cinema offering limited response to the galvanic moment of profound political transition” (Broodryk) due to a combination of contextual neglect and aesthetic poverty, contemporary Afrikaans-language cinema since 2015 has been the focus of a number of scholars and studies. As Tim Palmer (22) phrases it, “while the majority of world film engages its viewers to convey satisfaction or gratification, there occasionally emerges an opposite tendency, aggressive and abrasive forms of cinema that seek a more confrontational experience”. Where in contemporary Afrikaans-language cinema might one detect possible evidence of such “aggressive and abrasive” forms? While lowest common denominator “verstrooiingsvermaak” persists (see Botha), new and exciting Afrikaans films—possibly indicating the emergence of a new cinema—have been taking shape. Consider, for instance, the visual stylisation of Wonderlus (2017), the alleged social realism of Tess (2017), the vivid military tableaux of Kanarie (2018), and the true-crime reconstructions of Griekwastad (2019).
Recent scholarship on Afrikaans-language cinema has often focused on adaptations (and their discontents), both in formal academic journals such as Stilet in 2021, Tydskrif vir die Geesteswetenskappe (see Van Niekerk and Van der Merwe) and LitNet Akademies Geesteswetenskappe (e.g. Van Dyk). Numerous MA and PhD studies at selected South African tertiary institutions challenge representations of race and power in selected Afrikaans-language films (for instance, Bothma). Some researchers focus on the rural-urban binary that persists in some Afrikaans-language films (Jansen van Vuuren and Verster, “From rural naïveté to urban discontent: Framing post-apartheid South African film identities”), while others explore the challenges of South African film archiving (Van Jaarsveld), the place of Afrikaans-language film in South African film history (Van Coller and Van Jaarsveld), and the ethics of on-screen violence in selected Afrikaans-language films (Steyn; Weys), as well as novel approaches to Afrikaans-language film history (Tomaselli). Cara Moyer-Duncan in Projecting Nation (2020) identifies Afrikaans-language cinema features as part of her overall interrogation of the industrial and creative dynamics of contemporary South African cinema.
While considerable critical attention is paid to queerness in selected Afrikaans-language films, especially Oliver Hermanus’ Skoonheid (see Gray; Devarenne; Andrews; Sonnekus), there is an opportunity to vitalise and disseminate additional innovative critical conceptual-theoretical approaches to contemporary Afrikaans-language cinemas. It is worth pluralizing cinema to cinemas to acknowledge the many kinds of Afrikaans-language films that operate within and outside of dominant political economies.
Possible topics in a fluid and flexible framework of New Afrikaans-language cinemas may include:
- Recent development in Afrikaans-language genre cinema, such as the science and fiction of Wesens (2021) and the strange scatologies of Kaalgat Karel (2021). (Of course, as part of a genre-focus I am cognisant of the ideological, political and aesthetic currents that inform such films on the level of representation and reception).
- Critical analyses of themes and motifs on contemporary Afrikaans-language short films. In addition, a focus on the distribution and exhibition of these short films.
- Recent developments in Afrikaans-language documentary filmmaking.
- Afrikaans festival culture, specifically the annual Silwerskermfees and its role in the Afrikaans-language culture industry.
- Queerness after Skoonheid (2011): what is unique or particular about queer representation in contemporary Afrikaans-language cinema? For instance, to what extent does Die Stropers (2018) really push the proverbial envelope in its representation of queerness on screen?
- The reception of contemporary Afrikaans-language films outside of South Africa’s immediate geography: what is meaningful in how, for instance, expatriate South African audiences access, consume and respond to Afrikaans-language films?
- Revisiting transnational cinema and reframing contemporary Afrikaans-language cinema within transnational parameters.
- Rediscoveries and reclamations: revisiting ‘classic’ Afrikaans-language films through a critical contemporary lens, for instance by way of a cinephiliac approach to Afrikaans cinema.
- Afrikaans-language cinema beyond whiteness: Afrikaans-language films produced and consumed by diverse Afrikaans-speaking audiences.
- Critically examining the idea and meaning of the ‘popular’ in contemporary Afrikaans-speaking cinema, where the idea of the popular is sometimes distanced from box-office performance and instead finds itself in more informal, fluid understandings of what audiences or critics consider as popular.
The issue prioritises original research articles but invites the submission of essays, review articles and interviews.
Research essays of no more than 7 500 words, including notes and works cited, in English or French, are invited for submission by 30 April 2022. All submissions must follow the MLA 8th edition citation guidelines. (Please note that 8thedition MLA varies considerably from earlier MLA guidelines.) Authors must also ensure that their submissions adhere to all the requirements listed in the author guidelines of Tydskrif vir Letterkunde.
Please submit for consideration an abstract of 200-250 words by 15 DECEMBER 2021. Your abstract should be accompanied by a cover letter indicating your name, institutional affiliation, full contact details, and a brief biography. All queries and submissions should be sent to Chris Broodryk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For full TL author guidelines, please visit the website:https://letterkunde.africa/authorguidelines. Please note that authors affiliated with a South African university will be charged page fees (a flat rate of R10 000). Tydskrif vir Letterkunde is part of the Web of Science core collection and is indexed by Scopus and the Directory of Open Access Journals (SOAJ), among other indexes.
Editor biography: Dr Chris Broodryk is Chair of Drama in the School of the Arts, University of Pretoria where he lectures in Drama and Film Studies. He is editor of the volume Public Intellectualism in South Africa: Critical Voices from the Past (Wits University Press, 2021). His research interests include Afrikaans-language cinema; cinema and theology; genre studies; and social media studies. He is currently researching South African horror cinema.
Andrews, Grant. “The boundaries of desire and intimacy in post-apartheid South African queer film: Oliver Hermanus’s Skoonheid.” Image & Text vol. 31, no. 1, 2018, pp. 30–47. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC-106116ecae.
Botha, Martin. “Die Suid-Afrikaanse filmbedryf sedert 1994.” LitNet Akademies Geesteswetenskappe (Seminars and Essays). 14 May 2014. https://www.litnet.co.za/die-suid-afrikaanse-filmbedryf-sedert-1994/.
Bothma, Jacobus J. “’Hemel op die platteland': the intersections of land and whiteness in selected Afrikaans-language films from 1961–1994.” MA thesis. U Pretoria, 2017.
Broodryk, Chris. “Absences, Exclusivities and Utopias: Afrikaans film as a cinema of political impotence, 1994–2014”. Diss. U Cape Town, 2016.
Devarenne, Nicole. “White Supremacy, ‘Colored-ness,’ and Queerness in Oliver Hermanus's Skoonheid/Beauty”. Black Camera vol. 11, no. 2, 2020, pp. 9–31. https://doi.org/10.2979/blackcamera.11.2.02.
Gray, Chantelle. “The spectre-image: A hauntology of Skoonheid and Kanarie.” Image & Text vol. 35, no. 1, January 2021, pp. 1–21. http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2617-3255/2021/n35a3.
Jansen van Vuuren, Anna-Marie & Wanda Verster. “From rural naïveté to urban discontent: Framing post-apartheid South African film identities.” Journal of African Cinemas vol. 10, no. 1–2, pp. 111–29. https://doi.org/10.1386/jac.10.1-2.111_1.
Moyer-Duncan, Cara. Projecting Nation: South African Cinemas after 1994. Michigan State U P, 2020.
Palmer, Tim. “Style and Sensation in the Contemporary French Cinema of the Body.” Journal of Film and Video vol. 58, no. 3, 2006, pp. 22–32. https://uplib.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www.jstor.org/stable/20688527.
Sonnekus, Theo. “‘We’re not faggots!’: Masculinity, Homosexuality and the Representation of Afrikaner Men Who have Sex with Men in the Film Skoonheid and Online.” South African Review of Sociology vol. 44, no. 1, April 2013, pp. 22–39. https://doi.org/10.1080/21528586.2013.784446.
Steyn, Adriaan. “Story of a South African Farm Attack.” Africa Today vol. 66, no. 2, 2019, pp. 55–81. https://doi.org/10.2979/africatoday.66.2.04.
Tomaselli, Keyan. “Accessing the archive: a TV history of Afrikaans film.” Journal of African Cinemas vol. 7, no. 1, 1 April 2015, pp. 3–14. https://doi.org/10.1386/jac.7.1.3_1.
Van Coller, Hendrik P. & Anthea van Jaarsveld. “The indigenous Afrikaans film: Representation as a nationalistic endeavour.” Literator vol. 39, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1–13. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/lit.v39i1.1412.
Van Jaarsveld, Anthea. “’n Kontekstualisering van paradigmas in die Afrikaanse filmbedryf en die daarstel van’n ideale Afrikaanse filmargief binne ’n Suid-Afrikaanse konteks.” Southern Journal for Contemporary History vol. 42, no. 2, 2018, pp. 98–126. https://doi.org/10.18820/24150509/JCH42.v2.5.
Van Niekerk, Jacomien & Mart-Mari van der Merwe. “Die triomf van die silwerdoek: Christiaan Olwagen se filmverwerking van Die seemeeu.” Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe vol. 60, no. 1, 2020, pp. 108–123.
Weys, Dian. “(On-)Verantwoordelike rolprentvervaardiging: Die voorstelling van plaasmoorde in Darrell Roodt se Treurgrond (2015)”. LitNet Akademies Geesteswetenskappe, vol. 13, no. 1, 2016. https://www.LitNet.co.za/on-verantwoordelike-rolprentvervaardiging-die-voorstelling-van-plaasmoorde-in-darrell-roodt-se-treurgrond-2015/.
Griekwastad. Directed by Jozua Malherbe, Scene23, 2019.
Kaalgat Karel. Directed by Meg Rickards, Boondogle Films, 2021.
Kanarie. Directed by Christiaan Olwagen, Marche Media and kykNET, 2018.
Stropers, Die. Directed by Etienne Kalos, Spier Films, 2018.
Tess. Directed my Meg Rickards, Boondogle Films, 2016.
Wesens. Directed by Derick Muller, Ambassadeur (Pty) Ltd. 2020.
Wonderlus. Directed by Johan Cronjé, Nouvanaand Films, 2017.