FLAME (1996, Zimbabwe, 90 min.), directed by Ingrid Sinclair; screenplay by Barbara Jago, Philip Roberts, and Ingrid Sinclair; cinematography by Joćo Costa; music by Dick 'Chinx' Chigaira, Keith Goddard, and Philip Roberts; edited by Elisabeth Moulinier; with Marian Kunonga (Florence/Flame), Ulla Mahaka (Nyasha/Liberty), Norman Madawo (Danger), Dick 'Chinx' Chigaira (Rapo), Robina Chombe (Charity), Moise Matura (Che),Stanford Sengu (Panther), Jackie Jojo (Shingi), Sithembiso Gumbo (Pedzi). In English.

 

Please briefly answer the following questions, with detailed answers to three.

 

 

1.         Discuss the significance of the film's title, both literally and figuratively.

 

 

 

 

2.         The film opens in the "present tense" of post-Independence Zimbabwe, then flashes back into a long, extended narration by Nyasha of the experiences that she and her friend Florence (Flame) had during the Chimurenga, the struggle for Independence. Why do you think the director chose to use the kind of narrative strategy, as opposed to straightforward chronology?

 

 

 

 

3.         Describe young Florence and Nyasha at the beginning of the film. What are they like? What is it that moves them to go to Mozambique to join the independence movement?

 

 

 

 

4.         Discuss the presentation of the freedom fighters. How do they come across?

 

 

 

 

5.         Discuss the rape scene. What do you think about the way that the director has chosen to handle it. Would you have preferred to see it handled differently?

 

 

 

 

6.         How does the relationship between Flame and Liberty develop over the course of the struggle?

 

 

 

 

7.         What does Flame come to learn--about herself and the world around her--over the course of the film? To what extent does the general struggle for independence parallel her own inner struggle?

 

 

 

8.         What does the film have to say about life in post-Independence Zimbabwe? Think about the beginning of the film, as well as the end.

 

 

 

 

9.         Where does the film wind up? Where do you think Flame and Liberty will go from here? What is the meaning of the film's ending?

 

 

 

 

10.       Describe the use of music in the film, both source and soundtrack. Regarding the source music, how is it used as a means of building community? Any examples?

 

 

 

 

11.       Discuss Flame as a “war film.”  What are some of the ways in which it is like most war films.  What are some ways in which it is different from what we expect from the genre.

 

 

 

 

12.       Discuss Flame as a "women's film." Can you see traces of the fact that the filmmaker is a woman? In general, how does the film portray gender and gender-related issues?

 

 

 

 

13.       The film generated a great deal of controversy in Zimbabwe, particularly among veterans' groups. It was felt that the portrayal of gender issues was a slur on the memory and reputation of those men who fought valiantly and frequently gave their lives for independence. Do you sympathize with this critique?

 

 

 

14.       Another critique of the film had to do with the fact that Ingrid Sinclair is a White Zimbabwean, and that it was inappropriate for the first film about the Chimurenga to be made by a woman of European descent. It was also felt that her being White caused the portrayals of the male fighters to be more negative than they would have been had the director been Black. Your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

15.       What are some of the larger, more universal issues touched on by the film?

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