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History, narrative and identity in a sample of South African (Anglo-Boer) War Films

When: Wednesday, 26 August 2020 - Wednesday, 26 August 2020
Where: Online Event

Start time:13:00

You are cordinally invited to the next History Workshop webinar presented by Dr Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren

History, narrative and identity in a sample of South African (Anglo-Boer) War Films by Dr Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren 


“Myths carry ideological messages that construct identities” (Woodward, 2002, pp. 81).

In this paper I explore how historical context shaped the creation of the protagonist or hero archetype in some South African Anglo-Boer War case films and series. I argue that the Boer soldier, one of the prominent figures of White Afrikaner history, has been transformed into a mythical hero during the past century of South African filmmaking. This mythical figure has greatly influenced the narratives told by popular visual culture, from the first South African “talkie” film, Sarie Marais (1931) to the recent Zombie film Bloedson (2013). Through investigating the archetypical guises of the Boer Hero in these films and other (Die Kavaliers, Verraaiers, Adventures of the Boer War), the author reflects on how the filmmaker's representation of the hero reflects on the changing historical periods in which it was made. Since the protagonist as is the driving force of a film, analysing a screenplay according to the portrayal of this central character can give you valuable insight in the subtle intentions of the filmmaker, or at least the hegemonic status quo in which the film was made.

Dr Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren is a screenwriting lecturer at the Motion Picture Production (Film) Programme, at the Tshwane University of Technology. Her main research interest is South African cinema, focusing on both the historical and the contemporary film landscape. Within her practice-led doctorate at the University of Pretoria she wrote a feature film screenplay set against the backdrop of the South African Anglo-Boer War, while exploring the ‘ideological representation of the hero' in similar historical film and television narratives. Subsequently this research has been published in publications as Journal of African Cinemas and Communicatio. A notable conference highlight included presenting in a plenary session at the 2018 Film and History Conference in Madison, Wisconsin (USA). In 2019 she completed a three-year Post Doctorate fellowship at the University of Johannesburg, under renowned film historian Keyan Tomaselli. She is still actively involved in the local industry as a film critic and council member of the WGSA.

Event Date: Wednesday 26 August 2020
Time: Join meeting from 13h00. Seminar starts promptly at 13h15

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