Kenyan Drama Films: An Investigation of the Aesthetics of Selected Films.
M'erimba, Mutunga Simon
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This study investigated the aesthetics of selected Kenyan drama films. The movies selected are those produced, directed, and acted by Kenyan people in Kenya. Three Kenyan movies were analysed; Zeinabu Rudi Nyumbani (2008) by Billy Mbilikimo, Chasing Moses (2009) by Alexander Konstantaras and The Village Cassanova (20 10) by Simon Nduti. In order to establish the parameters under which Kenyan drama films could be critiqued, the study sought to analyse dramatic aspects of the selected drama films, establish the peculiarities of its aesthetics and investigate the socio-cultural aspects embedded in the selected drama films. Two theories were used in this study. The formalist film theory popularly advocated by the Russian formalists like Tynyanov emphasises on the aesthetic value of film and argues that the meaning of a film can be deciphered from the aesthetic elements employed by the film maker. The postmodernism theory emphasises the reworking of existing ideas and styles as typified by the techniques of pastiche and intertextuality. In this respect, the styles in the films may not necessarily be complete innovations of the directors but rather a reworking of existing film styles to suit their own artistic expression depending on the intent ofthe films they produce. The methodology that was used for research is the descriptive case study design where selected films were analysed after watching them. The films provided the primary data to be used in the analysis while secondary data was attained from the internet, journals and books. This study involved an analysis of the specific films' aesthetic elements after which a conclusion of the findings was done to ascertain the fact that Kenyan drama films have their own aesthetics which characterise them. It was clear that the various filmmaking techniques employed by the filmmakers created dramatic effect and worked together to make the films communicate and appeal to the audience in a particular way. The various social cultural aspects embedded in the films reflect the society's beliefs and values in relation to religion, family, wealth, morality and alcohol.