The Ousainou Darboe Film – An analysis in the context of film studies/persuasive communication

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By Famara Fofana

So, ever since my colleagues at Kerr Fatou dropped their much-vaunted documentary ANM Ousainou DARBOE: A Legacy of Selflessness, Kindness and Tenacity, there continues to be a potpourri of reactions, especially on social media. The production has led to some noticeable endorsements, words of micro-kindness and in some instances mimicry which has also become a part of our body politics.

In movies, they say, our eyes leave our bodies and wander through the camera, reflecting us as a modified form of reality. As Clare Patey of The Empathy Museum sums it, storytelling can capture people’s attention, and hopefully provoke them to think differently about an issue – except that the one being thought of differently by some in the wake of the film aint an issue but a human being that seemed to be misunderstood. Whether that’s deliberate or not, I wouldn’t know.

For the purpose of this review, I would limit my analysis to three key ingredients of Persuasive Communication or Aristotle’s Persuasive Appeals as could be deduced from the documentary. These techniques represented by Greek words are:
1. Logos – Simply meaning appeal to logic is one of the key elements employed by the documentary makers. It implies the use of rationality to persuade an audience. And in the context of the Darboe film, this has been used to good effect through the testimonials from people who knew him inside out- from childhood, days in Banjul under the guardianship of PS Njie to how he was tapped to become the UDP supremo. Here – his education, deep Islamic orientation and sacrifice for others make it logical for the audience to hear his story and get persuaded for those harboring their misgivings about him.

2. Pathos – The strong emotional resonance of the film as can be alluded to both UDP and non-UDP supporters is arguably its biggest selling point. That power to stimulate minds comes out prominently in the part Darboe led a handful of old men and other militants to West Field to demand the late Solo Sandeng’s body (dead or alive). Their manhandling at the protest site and their eventual incarceration at Mile 2 lays bare the virtue of sacrifice.

3. Ethos – This has to do with integrity or character and one’s set of moral beliefs. And in the Kerr Fatou documentary, Darboe’s traits of obedience, honesty and sharing and caring are a reoccurring theme, especially amidst questions of moral quandary dogging most African leaders. The documentary, based on David Bordwell’s IMPLICIT LEVEL of UNDERSTANDING MEANING, seems to be debunking that ‘tribalist’ image that the UDP as a party for far too long couldn’t clearly dismantle. Consciously or subconsciously, it takes a huge swipe at COGNITIVE ILLUSSION that some of UDP opponents have been using as a stick against them.

Finally, the blend of montage in creating those sequences, archival footage, powerful voice over makes the documentary what it is. The location shooting (Bantaba, Karantaa and Dobo Kemo’s room) brings greater realism to the story whilst the monochromatic images (black- and -white) adds a depth of nostalgia to the film stock.

Famara Fofana is a freelance journalist, author and public affairs analyst. He is pursuing a master’s degree in Media and Communications Studies at the Graduate School of Social Sciences, Ankara University, Turkey.

 

 

 

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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