|Ideology and cultural production in South African Cinema|
|Written by Tomaselli, Keyan|
Ideology and cultural production in South African Cinema
By Keyan G. Tomaselli
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
This study charts the structures of ownership and control between 1895 and 1980 as the industry shifted between English dominated South African capital represented by the multinational Schlesinger Organization, then to the American-owned 20th Century Fox, eventually being bought out by Afrikaner-dominated capital in the form of SANLAM. The analysis of film texts is located within an economic and cultural context and it will be shown how South African film makers have either reproduced Hollywood values, or alternatively, how they have tried, unsuccessfully, to mobilise cinema for cultural and political objectives. Whichever path was followed, the study interlocks a comprehensive analysis of South African cinema with the social history of the nation that produced it.Far from cinema being an unimportant component of the South African media scene, this study takes the view that film was pivotal element in the socialization of South Africans to their changing social circumstances as the balance of political power shifted towards the National Party. Where before 1956, the cinema largely served the interests of English South African and imperial capital, and American capital during the decade of the sixties, it was after 1969 to offer a crucial channel for the dissemination of new ideas and the capitalist ethic to Afrikaners who longed for a return to a pastoral harmony. As such, Afrikaans cinema in particular, substituted for television as it shaped and culturally naturalised a vast Afrikaner urbanization process which had begun at the turn of the century.