P045 – Resistances in Movement. Cinemas of Lusophone Africa
9 July, 16:00-17:30

Basto Maria-Benedita / Université de Paris Sorbonne
Schefer Raquel / Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3 University


Quoting J. Rancière (Les écarts du cinéma, 2011), one could say that every film establishes a certain “relationship between a matter of justice and a practice of correctness. Under such conditions the word “resistance” would have two meanings: resistance concerning the subject of the film, the story of a struggle against injustice, or a revolt; and “resistance as the strategy associated with an artistic endeavour, the resistance of images. If history is told through cinematographic images, one “has to reflect on the types of images which can act as such a medium” (D. Zabunyan, Passages de l’histoire, 2011); and on the division between visible and invisible which they introduce while creating possible shared commonalities. In the anticolonial and (inter)nationalist struggles of the 60s and 70s, fiction and documentary cinema played an important role in the representation of resistances. Peoples and classes seemed to constitute the natural historical subjects of militancy. Within the Portuguese colonial empire, there were certain attempts at resistance – later supressed – that put modes of domination into images. With independence, civil wars, the end of the cold war, political and economical liberalization, other collective subjects and new struggles have appeared. From a historical perspective, this panel is interested in the articulations between these two significations of “resistance” and their representations in the cinema of Lusophone Africa.

Résistances en mouvement. Cinémas d’Afrique lusophone
On pourrait dire avec J. Rancière (Les écarts du cinéma, 2011) que chaque film établit un certain « rapport entre une affaire de justice et une pratique de justesse ». Dans ces conditions le mot « résistance » aurait deux significations: la résistance comme ce dont parle le film, l’histoire d’un combat contre une injustice, ou d’une révolte et la résistance comme stratégie propre à une démarche artistique, la résistance des images. Si l’histoire passe à travers les images cinématographiques, il « faut questionner les types d’images qui peuvent assurer un tel passage » (D. Zabunyan, Passages de l’histoire, 2011), le partage entre visible et invisible qu’elles introduisent configurant des communs possibles. Dans les luttes (inter)nationalistes anticoloniales des années 1960 et 1970, un cinéma documentaire et de fiction a joué un rôle important dans la représentation des résistances. Le peuple et la classe semblaient constituer les sujets historiques naturels de la militance. Au sein de l’empire colonial portugais, des tentatives réprimées avaient essayé de résister en mettant en image les modes de domination. Avec les indépendances, les guerres civiles, la fin de la guerre froide, la libéralisation politique et économique, sont apparus d’autres sujets collectifs et d’autres combats. À partir d’une perspective historique, ce panel va s’intéresser aux manières dont s’articulent les deux significations de « résistance » et à ses représentations dans le cinéma de l’Afrique lusophone.

Paper 1

Fendler Ute / University of Bayreuth

Resisting images : Early Mozambican films between cinema vérité and poetry

The film “Deixem-me subir ao menos as palmeiras” (1972) was realized by José Barbosa in particular difficult circumstances in 1972 and was censored for its critique of the colonial system. It is particularly interesting how this film uses poetry and symbolically loaded cinematographic language to convey a political message that was – at the same time – transmitted in a style close to the cinema vérité. As Jacques Rancière has underlined the existence of two ways of resistance, namely the topic of a film and disturbing images, it will be of interest how this censored film brings into being images that disturb by questioning the system that is inserted in the visuality that captures, encloses and transmits the revolutionary moment of the picture. In the first Mozambican feature film, “O vento sopra do norte” (1987) by José Cardoso, one can find a certain continuity in motives and tropes. The parallels in the cinematographic language in spite of the lapse of time allows to discern the aesthetic impact of re-occurring images or the change in the construction of meaning via visual encoded “messages” that might carry the “resisting potential”. In analogy to Peter Burke’s “mythogenes” as a set of characteristics that is at the basis of the construction of a myth, we will analyze the “mythogenes” or the “imagogenes” of “Deixem-me ao menos subir as palmeiras” the pictures of which turn into a myth of resistance.

Paper 2

Vieira Sílvia / CIAC-University of Algarve

Cinema as a political weapon in Mozambique

A história do cinema em Moçambique está intimamente ligada às transformações políticas, económicas, sociais e culturais operadas depois da independência do país a 25 de Junho de 1975. Uma das primeiras medidas tomadas pelo primeiro presidente da República Popular de Moçambique, Samora Machel, foi criar o Serviço Nacional de Cinema (SNC), renomeado em 1976 de Instituto Nacional de Cinema (INC). Podemos afirmar que, desde o nascimento do país, os seus líderes perceberam que o cinema seria o meio de comunicação ideal para promover a unificação do país e divulgar os valores socialistas da FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique).
Os objetivos desta apresentação são analisar e contextualizar aqueles que constituíram uma verdadeira arma política e uma poderosa forma de unificação e estruturação do país em torno de um ideal comum – os jornais cinematográficos moçambicanos – Kuxa Kanema.

Paper 3

Laranjeiro Catarina / CES, University of Coimbra

Confronting vague ideas with clear images: Ghosts and Memories in the Liberation War in Guinea-Bissau

My proposal aims to analyze the image representation of the liberation war in Guinea-Bissau (1963-1974) from its ghosts and absences. The hypothesis I intend to develop is about the visual representation of the liberation war as a place of imagination and reinvention of a nation, and how these images can define belongings and exclusions, causing power struggles over its historical legacy. Therefore, using image archive, I will try to evoke discursive practices for analyzing how visual representations that were or were not produced in the liberation struggle period, question the (re) construction of narratives about the history of Guinea-Bissau during the colonial and post-colonial context. The cinema as an object of study emerges due to its political importance, once image was a privileged instrument of denunciation and a key political script in finding arenas for the emancipation of the Guinean people, who aimed following the words of the historical leader Amilcar Cabral, restore to the people their own culture. Thus, the relevance of an epistemological proposal to create a “visual archive of the liberation struggle”, underlying my doctoral project underway, is to to create a new “place of memory” (Nora, 1988), as a useful tool for the analysis of the mechanisms and processes of emancipation triggered by the liberation movement and the countries which in the context of the Cold War supported militarily and economically the anticolonial cause.

Paper 4

Oliveira Jusciele / University of Algarve

Tavares Mirian / University of Algarve

Flora Gomes: partidas e retornos de um cineasta autoral em trânsito na contemporaneidade

O presente resumo ocupa-se das representações construídas pelo cineasta Flora Gomes para a África e para a Guiné-Bissau, com foco nas questões nacionais demandadas na contemporaneidade, e transformadas em matéria da indústria cultural do cinema, que extrapola as fronteiras guineenses seja através da temática de trânsitos físicos e culturais, seja pela política de agenciamento das instâncias de produção cinematográfica, bem como através das estratégias de mise-en-scene, modo de construção narrativa e algumas recorrências temáticas, a fim de destacar traços formais, estilísticos e de conteúdo que possam corroborar uma preocupação consciente ou não deste cineasta africano com o chamado “cinema de autor”.

Paper 5

Balona de Oliveira Ana / University of Lisbon, CEC / New University of Lisbon, IHA / University of London, Courtauld

Cities and Faces, Boxes and Water: Histories and Memories of Decolonization and Beyond in the Work of Kiluanji Kia Henda and Délio Jasse

Establishing connections not only between cinema and other forms of moving image in contemporary artistic practice, but also between film and video and other artistic media where the movements and passages of images might be said to occur by means other than those of the cinematic proper, thereby exploring other possible meanings of ‘resistances in movement’ and ‘resistance of images’, this presentation will discuss the video Afecto de Betão (Concrete Affection) (2014) by Kiluanji Kia Henda, and the ‘moving’ images, immersed in pigmented water, of the photographic installation Ausência Permanente (Permanent Absence) (2014) by Délio Jasse. Both Kia Henda and Jasse, the former, in a personal and poetic adaptation of R. Kapuscinski’s Another Day of Life (1975), the latter, by means of photographic ‘montages’ of several layers of archival and non-archival images and stamps, examine not only histories and memories of Portuguese colonialism and decolonization in Angola, but also the post-Cold War, post-civil war, post-Marxist contemporary moment, which is leaving its imprint on the landscape, not only urban and architectural, in Luanda and other cities, but also natural. How do the formal, material and conceptual qualities of these artistic moving images and of their ‘moving’ conditions of production, display and reception allow them to become resistant, justly in-‘appropriate’ spaces and sites in the present for the entangled histories and memories passing in and through them?

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