Not your usual film about African politics, corruption, and vanity -- The Governor's New Clothes is a musical comedy which parodies the trappings of power and African leaders.
Mr. Mweze Ngangura, distinguished filmmaker whose work, 'Pieces d'Identites' won the most prestigious award in Africa, the Etalon de Yennega, in 1999, will share his latest feature, 'The Governor's New Clothes', with the UCLA community on Wednesday, May 11, 2005.
Adapted from the Danish writer, Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Emperor's New Clothes' (1835), this remarkably perceptive film is a parable about power and vanity. In brilliantly transposing the enduring values of the film's inspirational source, Mr. Mweze engages, without gloss or pessimism, the human spirit, contemporary African politics, and the trappings of power. Every effort to bring this worthy initiative to fruition would be greatly appreciated.
Mweze Ngangura on his film The Governor's New Clothes:
"When I discovered the extraordinary children's tale by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, The Emperor's New Clothes (1835), the impact was such that it brought me to write and produce this film, "The Governor's New Clothes." Andersen exposes the rulers' vanity and mean flattery. What strikes me first in this story is its universal value, more particularly its applicability to the vast majority of African political regimes. This loose screen adaptation is intended for any audience in a simple, linear style. I wanted to situate the action in the political and cultural context of the 'murderous reality' of present day Africa. The film evolves against a background of war between two ethnic groups, the Zerbos and the Krowas.
Tabou, the main character (the Governor), is a Zerbo who personally feels the dilemma of being married to a Krowa (Mopaya), with whom he has a son, Little Prince. The choice of names for the ethnic groups - 'Zerbo' and 'Krowa' -corruption of 'Serbo' and 'Croat' - indicates my clear reference to the fact that ethnic conflicts are not an African monopoly. At the same time, the film wants to maintain the universal nature of the fairy-tale. The Emperor's New Clothes is a musical comedy on the theme of abuse of power, with as a main story line the history of a family on the verge of collapse.
I insisted first and foremost on the aspect of "film for a large audience" by alternating between hilarious and more dramatic moments. It all evolves from the point of view of a character that runs as a thread through the
story - the griot Makasi, a moralist with the exceptional gift of being omnipresent."
Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
121 Dodd Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free and open to the public; parking is available for $7.
James S. Coleman African Studies Center
Sponsor(s): African Studies Center