According to HEALTH-BEAUTY-GUIDES, Madagascar is an island and republic in the Indian Ocean, located SE of the African continent. Madagascar is inhabited by a linguistically homogeneous population (Malagasy is a Malagasy-Polynesian language), formed by the union between African peoples and immigrant groups in different waves from insular Asia among the secc. 3rd and 8th. Interested in trade with Arabs and Persians starting from the 11th-12th century, from the 16th century. Madagascar also entered into relations with the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French. In the second half of the sixteenth century, state entities of considerable size emerged (➔ Sakalava) and, from the late 18th century, the Merina or Imerina kingdom, born from the union of a series of small political entities, was consolidated in the Center-North of the island by Andrianampoinimerina (1787-1810) and then consolidated and extended by his son Radama I (1810-28). Thanks also to the strategic relationship established with the British (import of firearms), the Merina subdued the Sakalava and unified over two thirds of the island, laying the foundations of the modern Malagasy state. Queen Ranavalona I (1828-61), widow of Radama I, implemented a policy contrary to European and missionary influence, while her son, Radama II, relaunched contacts with the British and French before being dismissed by the oligarchy and by the head of the Rainilaiarivony army (1863). In fact, he ruled the country as prince consort of three successive queens (Rasoherina, Ranavalona II and III) and implemented processes of technological modernization. Growing French interference led to the First Franco-Merine War (1883-85) which caused the Diego-Suarez base to be sold to Paris. Rainilaiarivony’s refusal to accept the French protectorate (1890) led to a new, very hard conflict in 1895, won by Paris through a great military effort. General J.-S. Gallieni was the head of the colony proclaimed in 1896 and suppressed a series of national revolts, decreeing Ranavalona III’s exile in Algeria in 1897. Siding in 1940 with the Vichy Republic, Madagascar in 1942 it was occupied by Great Britain and South Africa only to be given to free France. In 1946, with the birth of the Union française, he obtained it status of overseas territory. A bloody anti-colonial revolt took place in 1946-47 – after all, a chronic anti-French rebellion had been underway since the early 20th century. – which caused thousands of casualties and the banning of leaders of the nationalist party Mouvement démocratique de la rénovation malgache. Autonomous state within the Franco-African Community (1958), Madagascar gained independence in 1960, under the presidency of P. Tsiranana, head of the Parti social démocrate (PSD). Authoritarian and pro-French, Tsiranana was deposed in 1972 by the military, who held power with juntas headed successively by G. Ramanantsoa, R. Ratsimandrava and, since 1975, by D. Ratsiraka, who pursued Marxist policies. Returning to multi-party parliamentarism in 1992, Madagascar saw in 1993 the victory of the opposition party Forces vives (FV) of A. Zafy and in 1997 the return to power by electoral means of Ratsiraka. The self-proclamation as president of Madagascar Ravalomanana, Ratsiraka’s rival, in the 2001 elections opened a profound institutional and civil crisis; however, despite problems with sections of the armed forces and apparent coup attempts (2003 and 2006), Ravalomanana was re-elected in 2006. Since January 2009, a protest movement led by the capital’s mayor, A. Rajoelina, has paralyzed life. political and institutional of the country, until the resignation of Ravalomanana in March, who had by now lost the support of the military. Rajoelina took over the provisional presidency and announced presidential elections to be held within two years. The violent and unconstitutional ways of overthrowing the elected government have, however, aroused international condemnation and concern, especially from the African Union, the European Union and the UN.
As in many other African countries, the development of the cinema of the former French colony, which became independent in 1960, did not wait for independence. One of the pioneers of sub-Saharan African cinema, director Raberono, is in fact Malagasy: he made the film La mort de Rasalama (the date is uncertain: 1937 or 1947) to commemorate the first Christian martyr of Madagascar in centenary of death. Apart from this work, the cinema of the island was formed in the sixties and seventies: Justin Limby Maharivo, Naïvo Rahamefy, Edmond Agabra, Hugo Raharimanantsoa, Architote Andrianajamanana, Jean-Claude Rahaga were the most significant directors, for the most documentary authors. In particular, we recall Fitampoha (1980), directed by Rahaga and the Frenchman Jacques Lombard, testimony of the secular ceremony, officiated every ten years, of the immersion of the royal relics in the waters of the ocean; fictional films include Limby Maharivo’s Asakasaka (1973), the story of a girl who dies after having an abortion, and Richard-Claude Ratovoranivo’s Tranon Kala (1971), about the memories of a man sentenced to death.
Prominent figures are also Benoît Maurice Ramampy, Ignace-Solo Randrasana and Raymond Rajaonarivelo: reflections on power and justice are at the center of Ramampy’s films L’accident (1973) and Dahalo, Dahalo (1984, also known as Il était une fois dans le Moyen-Ouest); Randrasana’s work instead moved between the sociological and the historical side, analyzing the city-country relationship (Very remby, 1974, also known as Le retour) and the 1947 insurrection for independence (Ilo tsy very, 1987, also known as Mad 47). Rajaonarivelo worked on historical facts (Tabataba, 1988) and elements of popular culture (Quand les étoiles rencontrent la mer, 1997). Also noteworthy is the original reinterpretation of Macbeth by the Englishman Alexander Abela, who in Makibefo (1999) had the tragedy of W.