Interwar German Cinema in Cameroon: Colonial Revisionism Through Images

Researcher:

Marie Nadege Momo Tsogo

In the wake of waning enthusiasm for the colonial project, film became one of several tools deployed by the pro-colonial elite during the Weimar period to promote colonialism. This project examines the presentation in images and, therefore, in discourse, of colonial revisionism in a selection of films produced between 1927 and 1937 to determine the strategies used for relaying German propaganda in favor of Cameroon’s retrocession.

 

Drawing on historical, discursive, ideological and political analyses of these films, as well as through an examination of film techniques and processes, this project will address the following: What were the underlying issues and production mechanisms of German films made in Cameroon after the Versailles Conference? How were Cameroon and her inhabitants perceived and depicted by the German collective imagination? What technical devices were used to interpret the "colonial revisionist" discourse? Did the films made in Cameroon help strengthen the Colonial Idea?

 

Existing scholarship on colonial or African cinemas tends to focus on the relationship between colonialism and film production before turning to national cinemas. The only in-depth study of German colonial film remains Furhmann’s Imperial Projections, which focuses on the period from 1904 to the end of WWI. For this reason, this project is unprecedented not only in its temporal and regional focus, but also for its epistemological approach, drawing on historiographical survey instruments, film construction and technique, as well as semiology and postcolonial theories in order to better understand the role of German cinema in the colonies.