"Expanding Horizons: Pumzi, Science Fiction and African Cinema"

Jude G. Akudinobi, UC Santa Barbara

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
10th floor
Los Angeles, CA 90095

African cinema, given its originative ethos as a revolutionary cinema, has largely favored ideological contestations and ‘social realist’ paradigms of representation. As will be shown, using  Pumzi (Wanuri Kahui, Kenya, 2009), contemporary African cinema has evolved from the foundational predilections to richly diverse conceptual, thematic and aesthetic registers. With this film and, notably, engaging the unwieldy genre of science-fiction, Kahui extends African cinema’s penchant for the provocative by posing its fascinating narrative as a parable for and cautionary tale about contemporary global concerns. Thus, through the film’s evocative post-apocalyptic realms, she explores questions of gender, power, humanity, scientific inquiry, resource control, environmental sustainability and, crucially, Africa’s future.

PUMZI: A 20 minute Sci-Fi film about futuristic Africa, 35 years after World War III:  “The Water War”.

Nature is extinct. The outside is dead. Asha lives and works as a museum curator in one of the indoor communities set up by the Maitu Council. When she receives a box in the mail containing soil, she plants an old seed in it and the seed starts to germinate instantly. Asha appeals to the Council to grant her permission to investigate the possibility of life on the outside but the Council denies her exit visa. Asha breaks out of the inside community to go into the dead and derelict outside to plant the growing seedling and possibly find life on the outside.

Jude G. Akudinobi earned his PhD in Cinema-Television from the University of Southern California and he teaches at UC Santa Barbara. His research interests span the complexities of post-colonial literatures, cultural politics, media and cinematic representations, merges theory with practice through poetry, fiction, screenplays, and experimentations with the expressive capacities of the cinematic medium. President of the Advisory Board for African Voices Cinema Series, he has consulted for production companies, reviewed for scholarly journals and presses, served on film festival juries, delivered keynote lectures, and been a special guest at various distinguished workshops, seminars, and conferences


Monday African Seminar Series (MAAS)

UCLA African Studies Center, Co-sponsored by the Mellon Postdoctural Program "Cultures in Transnational Perspectives."

Faculty Coordinators: Francoise Lionnet

MASS Winter 2012

What does African cinema contribute to a better understanding of global aesthetics and to film studies in general? What is specific about the field of African visual media and what are some of the new conceptual and interpretive issues that confront its scholars today? The series showcases the work of three critics who will take turn focusing on questions of memory and trauma (Sheila Petty), fantasy and science fiction (Jude Akudinobi), power, control, and biopolitics (Akin Adesokan).

The historical and the social, gender and the environment, and the serious new challenges posed to the poetic imagination by neoliberal authoritarianism are some of the topics that will be explored. This is a unique opportunity to learn more about established and emerging filmmakers, from Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, and Kenya, who draw from rich multilingual traditions and challenge viewers to rethink their relation to global genres.

Monday, February 6, 10367 Bunche Hall

“Sites of Memory in Sub-Saharan African Cinema”
Sheila Petty, University of Regina

Tuesday, February 21, 10383 Bunche Hall.

"Expanding Horizons: Pumzi, Science Fiction and African Cinema"
Jude G. Akudinobi, UC Santa Barbara

Thursday, February, 23, 6275 Bunche Hall

“The Arte Wave”
Manthia Diawara, NYU

 Monday, February 27, 10383 Bunche Hall

“Framing Biopolitics: Jo Ramaka's Cinema of Power”
Akinwumi Adesokan, Indiana University

Monday, March 12, 10383 Bunche Hall

"Azmari in Hollywood"
Leelai Demoz, Filmmaker

Cost : Free and open to the public; pay-by-space and all-day parking ($11) available in lot 3.

UCLA African Studies Center310-825-3686


Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Co-sponsored by the Mellon Postdoctoral Program "Cultures in Transnational Perspective."