Cinematographic Techniques of Hilary Ngweno’s The Making of a Nation
Irungu, Francis Mwangi
MetadataShow full item record
Just in the same way the African history was reconstructed through such elements as archaeological sources, oral traditions among others, Hilary Ngweno‘s The Making of a Nation documentary film series used the same principle to reconstruct Kenya‘s political history through cinematographic elements such as archival materials (still photographs and a few video clips). The former has already become an academic discipline while the later is attracting an academic attention beginning with this study. This study sought to critically explore the various cinematographic techniques deployed in Hilary Ngweno‘s The Making of a Nation documentary series. The specific focus of the study is the establishment of cinematographic styles and characteristics in Hilary Ngweno‘s films. The study also examines the role of cinematographic techniques in these films. Finally, it analyses thematic and narrative development in the episodic films. The study uses formalist film theory as its apparatus in analysing the films. The film theory is concerned with design and form of shots composition. Formalist films persuade viewers to see things the way the artist sees them. The sample size is the fourteen (14) episodes of Hilary Ngweno‘s documentary series. The specific focus is the examination of how the narratives have engaged formalistic tendencies and thus their efficacy and reliability on archival resources for reconstruction of Kenya‘s political history. This study is qualitative research deploying the case research design. Qualitative research explores attitudes, behavior and experiences. It attempts to get an in-depth opinion from participant(s). Reading and interpretation of pictures (films) is subjective and therefore based on attitudes, behavior and experiences. The researcher watched the films and recorded down their various aspects in relation to the study objectives. This helped to identify the various cinematographic elements which is the main focus of the study. Data analysis capitalized on textual analysis to yield information relevant for film studies and policy formulation in respect to archival film techniques. The filmmaker uses especially still photograph shots to create other various shots which include extreme close ups, close ups, medium shots, zooms-in, zooms-out, among others. The close up shots dominate in all the episodes in the documentary film series and have been used to show reactions among various political players and create emotional attachment to the viewers. They help to bring viewers closer to the subject (s) covered. The camera angles have been used to show political supremacy where political machinations and counter machinations involving political figures is also a subject of this study. The study made two recommendations; (1) recommendation for more documentary film series and (2) recommendation for further research.