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“Ọ̀rúnmìliàn Film-Philosophy”: An African Philosophy through Cinematic Storytelling

“Ọ̀rúnmìliàn Film-Philosophy”: An African Philosophy through Cinematic Storytelling

by Dr. Saheed Adesumbo Bello (University of Lagos)

Tue, June 29, 14:15-15:45, Zoom 652 9201 5965, Passcode: 724178 (RS Arts & Aesthetics)


How can films do philosophy? It is salient that this question is the fulcrum of perennial debate about the relationship between film and philosophy. But for the on-going discussion on the relationship between film and philosophy has been dominated by European/western philosophers who have explored the manifestations of specific European/western philosophical traditions in Hollywood narrative film, European Art film and other non-African experimental films; this study therefore aims to provide an alternative film-philosophy by exploring the praxis of Ọ̀rúnmìlà oral philosophy and narrative aesthetics in an African cinematic storytelling which I call “the Ọ̀rúnmìliàn film-philosophy”. In doing that, the study intends to answer four questions: what is Ọ̀rúnmìliàn film?; what is the philosophical specificity in Ọ̀rúnmìliàn film?; in what ways can we heal/decolonize ourselves through Ọ̀rúnmìliàn film-philosophy?; how can we make the world a better place through the African/Yorùbá cinematic storytelling? The development of Ọ̀rúnmìliàn film-philosophy is significant because despite the articulation of an African worldview in some Nigerian films, such as, Sango (dir. Obafemi Lasode, 1997); Saworoide (dir. Túndé Kèlání’s, 1999); Thunderbolt: Magun (dir. Túndé Kèlání, 2001); The Figurine (dir. Kunle Afolayan, 2009); and Half of a Yellow Sun, an adaptation of Chimamanda’s Adichie’s Novel of the same title (dir. Biyi Bandele, 2013), scholarship on them has continued to emphasize European philosophy, ignoring the possibility of a specific African film-philosophy. Hence, this study contributes to film and philosophy scholarship by exploring the significance of Yorùbá/Ọ̀rúnmìlà philosophical texts in the selected Nigerian films as case studies of how contemporary African filmmakers, like their oral artiste counterparts, continue to articulate their inherited traditions via cinematic storytelling.

Keywords: Cinema, Healing, Orality, Ọ̀rúnmìlà, Philosophy and Storytelling.

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