Representation and Preservation of Local Cultural Elements in Selected Amharic Feature Films

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Addis Ababa University


In a country which has diverse cultural performance with divers nations and nationalities, films play a major role in portraying political, cultural, economical and social aspects of society beyond their entertaining role. Films have practical relationship with any activities and circumstances in a society. All social, economical and cultural reality of the society can be presented in films. In particular, films can present collective or individualist imagination of the society including perceptions on crucial issues related to economical, political, social and cultural aspects of the society. In the case of culture, films have power to present and preserve society‟s culture in order to transfer to the next generation. Culture is a complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, moral, low, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by human as a member of a society. It could be learned, acquired experienced or transferred through various ways. One of the most influential of these ways is through films. The aim of this paper is to explore and critically analyze the representation and preservation of cultural elements in Ethiopian feature films produced in Amharic language. The study was conducted based on the data gathered from film producers and directors through interview and direct observation of selected films. Qualitative research approach was used to answer the research questions that emerge through the review of existing literature and experiences of the researcher in respect of watching local films. The study thematically analyzes data obtained from interview and film observation. The result of the study indicated that, some cultural elements are presented in selected films which correspond to country‟s culture and life style. In addition challenges also encountered to incorporate cultural elements in home grown films in both filmmakers and government sides. The study suggests a series of measures which could be taken by filmmakers, film industry and by government to address various challenges identified in order to use films as a tool for intervention of social development works. This study tries to see the presentation and preservation of cultural elements in selected Amharic films. Findings indicate selected films attempted to create direct association with the country's culture in some aspects, like local foods, style of dress, local music, and family life. Those cultural elements which distinctly represented Ethiopia in selected Amharic films were indicators how films have power to transmit culture to the next generation around the country. Incorporating local cultural elements in local films also provide self satisfaction for producers and directors as well as help them to know much better about their culture and county. However, certain factors were seen as problem to produce such kind of films widely in the country. Therefore this thesis also focuses on the challenges and opportunities of current situation to produce cultural oriented films. Key words: cultural elements, preservation, Amharic films, representation



Cultural Elements; Preservation; Amharic Films; Representation