The Theme Of Alienation In Selected Kenyan Films
This study is an analysis of the theme of alienation in selected Kenyan films; Nathan Collets Kibera Kid (2006), Bob Nyanja’s The Rugged Priest (2011) and Tosh Gitonga’s Nairobi Half Life (2012). Alienation is a state of the mind in which one feels overwhelmed by circumstances; one can either be alienated from their work, from other people or from themselves. The theme of alienation is an important area for study because it is a relational and humanistic problem that faces the urbanized society, and it is in the effort to understand what it is, its causes and its symptoms that solutions to end it can be formulated. I argue that alienation is one of the major problems that face Kenyans. As a result of this, Kenyan films have often depicted it in their works. In Kenya the rate of film production is high; however there is a disparity between the rate of production and the rate of scholarship of the works produced, yet it is through criticism and analysis of an artistic piece that the weakness can be improved and the strengths stepped up. In addition crucial themes that affect the society can be analyzed. This disparity between production and scholarship leaves a gap that needs to be filled. Therefore this study delves into an analysis of the theme of alienation in the selected films. The study has two objectives; to analyze the different forms of alienation and to discuss the varied cinematic techniques that have been used to develop alienation. These two objectives were based on the hypotheses that the three selected films have represented forms of alienation and that the directors of these films use cinematic techniques to develop the theme. Two theories have been used in this study. The Marxist film theory was advocated by Russian film makers who found fault with Hollywood filmmakers because they expressed their capitalist ideas through film. The Marxist theorists especially in the vi culturalist school of thought argued that films are used to serve the interests of the ruling class but they can also be used as a flat form for ideological struggle. The second theory used in this study is psychoanalysis theory. The theory was advocated by Sigmund Freud. The psychoanalysts argue that a person’s behaviour and attitudes are influences by desires held in the unconscious part of the mind. This theory is important to this study that examines alienation for through psychoanalysis the behaviour of the alienated characters can be analyzed. The methodology used was qualitative-descriptive design which entailed watching and analyzing the film texts, in order to represent alienation. The films were the main source of data while journals, books and internet sources provided the secondary data. There are three chapters, with the first chapter dealing with the background to the study, the statement of the problem, the objectives, hypotheses, justification, the theoretical framework and the methodology. The second chapter is the representation of alienation in each of the three films. The characters reaction to all form of alienation is given and eventually the directors subtle solutions to alienation. The third chapter, techniques in the development of alienation reveals how different cinematic techniques are used to develop the theme of alienation. I argue that through the filmic elements discussed the directors have been able to develop the theme of alienation. Among the techniques discussed are, the set, camera movements, costuming, characterization and sound.
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