Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Third Eye - Festival Films Of Third World Cinema

It has long been recognised that if the arts and culture of developing countries would be recognised and appreciated in the international arena, special efforts ought to be made to facilitate exhibition of major works by Third World artists in this field.

Quite recently, the Greater London Council, in collaboration with Commonwealth Institute successfully held a World Music Festival which brought together musicians and dancers from all corners of the earth into London to participate in a unique session which has left an indelible mark on the London artistic circles.

Third Eye, London's two-week festival of Third World Cinema which opened last weekend is another first which promises to open the way for an annually organised festival.

Third Eye offers a splendid selection of documentary and feature films produced by filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and from black communities resident in Europe and North America. It also provides a unique opportunity to see some of: the classics on which Third World Cinema is founded as well as more recent productions - including some that have never been shown in Britain before.

African representation in the festival is led by Ghana which has offered three films produced and shot in Ghana by Ghanaians - "His Majesty's Sergeant", directed by Ato Yanney and whose leading actor is Tommy Ebow Ansah, a Ghanaian. It also features an Indian actor, Singh Ghuman and British, Tony Trent.

The film set in Burma in the second world war was shot entirely in Ghana and tells the story of the conflict between the three members. of the Allied Forces lost in the jungle. The moral of the story-line is strongly reinforced in the end that in a matter of survival in enemy territory, the colour of one's skin should not becloud the need for unity to fight for the common good.

The other films are Kwaw Ansah's "Love Brewed in the African Pot" which has previously won international honours at similar festivals and a new release called "Kukurantumi", directed by Ghanaian King Ampaw which tells the story of a lorry driver whose ambition to run his own business leads him to use his daughter as a pawn in the highly corrupt business atmosphere in the city.

With other films from Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Ousmane Sembene of Senegal's "Ceddo" one of the most controversial films to come out of the continent, Africa is strongly represented.

The cinematic arts, doubtless, play a very significant part in influencing the popular consciousness of people in the Third World. For this reason governments exercise very strong control over this medium of information which situation often restricts the artistic freedom producers need to bloom into international class of artists. The few films that manage to break through are not without tales of woe and frustrations.

All things considered, one would agree with the organisers that in spite of all the foregoing problems, "the language of films thus developed and expressed, challenges the slickness of much of the established Western Cinema by extending the frontiers of cinematic arts through innovations on style and the development of a new aesthetic"

The London Festival of Third World, seeks within the two-week period, through, a four-day symposium on the problems of Third World Cinema,to reflect on some aspects of this exciting development which formed the initial impetus to organise this feast of Third World Cinema.

talking drums 1983-11-07 which is the voice of the people