Well this is how the story goes: “In the 1980s video cassette technology made it possible for “mobile cinema” operators in Ghana (and elsewhere) to travel from town to town and village to village creating temporary cinemas. The touring film group would create a theatre by hooking up a TV and VCR onto a portable generator and playing the films for the people to see. In order to promote these showings, artists were hired to paint large posters of the films (usually on used canvas flour sacks). When the posters were finished they were rolled up and taken on the road.”
Well this is apparently the gospel truth as told by assemblyman.eph. This narrative may not be entirely false. What is certain is that Africa with a large number of mobile phone users, a growing number of savvy internet users and budding economies has moved on from the 80s. Even though, ”Moving on” is not necessarily a bad thing, in this case it probably is, as it is an absolute travesty to nip this African poster depictions of films in the bud.
Gone are the good ‘ole days when African film posters would create their own “vision”, mostly far from the reality of the visuals of the films they depicted. In some cases the posters were what got one’s heart pumping and dying to see the film. They were funny, surreal, full of exaggeration and served as topics of conversation. School kids would gather around these posters for hours on end playing out their own interpretations of what they thought the film might be about. No modern adverts on TV or film premiers could generate more interest and amusement than these posters did.
Sadly, as they say every good thing must eventually come to an end. Paradoxically, thanks to the very technology that killed off these posters, at least we are now able to document them for posterity. In my eyes they have now transcended the realms of mere film posters into great pieces of artwork!
by Nii Thompson