Textauszug aus A Tale of Cinema von Amadou Hampâté Bâ
»When we entered the cinema, before the film you showed me a large white cloth on which a beam of light was projected, which would then become images that we could look at and recognize. You also showed a small enclosure situated rather high above us. You told me that it was in this box that the machine that spat images was located.
In this box there are several openings through which light shines; ending on the large white cloth. As soon as the operator – whom we do not see – begins his work, some noise comes out of the enclosure.
It passes over our head while we are thrust into a deep darkness – a metaphor of our ignorance of the unknown. The light came from the small enclosure in measured portions, in thin lines, rather than all at once.
We were facing the large white cloth. It was only when looking at it that we could clearly see, make out and understand the images that unfolded in front of us. We could see horses run, men walk, and villages emerge. We saw the thick vegetation in the rural area, the blooming countryside, the plain sharply fall away. All of this as if in a long dream, clear and precise, as if dreaming in a waken state.
After having watched the large white cloth for a long time, I wanted, in its absence, to perceive with my eyes alone the images that came from the little house. What happened to me? As soon as I turned directly towards the opening in the little house, the beam of light that came out blinded me. Although the images were in the rays, my eyes were not strong enough to detect it. I closed my eyes in order to concentrate, but my ears continued to clearly discern the sound that accompanied the streams of light.
I found myself in the following situation: First, when I watch the big white cloth, I see the images and hear the sound. I benefit from both the image and sound. But, on the other hand, when I only use my eyes, looking directly at the projector, I only hear the sound. I am not able to stand the powerful light, it blinds me. At the same time that there is some good in it, there are also disadvantages.
This deduction leads me to the conclusion that as long as the cloth is essential to clearly see the images and discern the origin of the sound, a mediator is needed between God and us, to understand the divine message.«
in: Amadou Hampâté Bâ, Le dit du cinéma africain, 1967
englische Übersetzung in: Beti Ellerson, Reflections on Cinema Criticism and African Women, in: Feminist Africa, African Feminist Engagements with Film, Issue 16, 2012, S. 38-39.