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Postcolonial Nation and Narrative III: Literature & Cinema

Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé e Príncipe


Edited By Ana Mafalda Leite, Hilary Owen, Ellen Sapega and Carmen Tindó Secco

This volume investigates literary and cinematographic narratives from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe, analysing the different ways in which social and cultural experience is represented in postcolonial contexts. It continues and completes the exploration of the postcolonial imaginary and identity of Portuguese-speaking Africa presented in the earlier volume Narrating the Postcolonial Nation: Mapping Angola and Mozambique (2014).

Memory, history, migration and diaspora are core notions in the recreation and reconceptualization of the nation and its identities in Capeverdian, Guinean and Saotomean literary and cinematographic culture. Acknowledging that the idea of the postcolonial nation intersects with other social, political, cultural and historical categories, this book scrutinizes written and visual representations of the nation from a wide range of inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives, including literary and film studies, gender studies, sociology, and post-colonial and cultural studies. It makes a valuable contribution to current debates on postcolonialism, nation and identity in these former Portuguese colonies.

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African Cinema: A Transnational Cinema? The Decolonial Cinema of Flora Gomes (Ute Fendler)


Ute Fendler

African Cinema: A Transnational Cinema? The Decolonial Cinema of Flora Gomes


This article offers reflections on African cinema, which from its beginnings has not been solely a national cinema. First we approach the question of African cinema that is placed in categories like the national and the continental in a more diachronic perspective, then we go on to highlight the characteristics of the cinematographic landscape of Portuguese-speaking African countries. Thirdly, the films of Flora Gomes from Guinea-Bissau are discussed with special reference to his most recent feature film República di Meninus (2012), which creates a transnational, continental utopia with a multinational production in Mozambique and in English. The film presents a narrative that invites us to imagine a future that will break with pre-established categories like ‘national’ or ‘postcolonial’.

When we reflect on African cinema and the postcolonial nations, we are faced with various theoretical problems. Stephen Zacks offers an observation about the problematic theoretical basis of studies on African films:

It may be assumed that Africa as an entity is an ideological product, that its unity and identity are constructed rather than having an a priori historical or material existence – an assumption that bears importantly upon the three main critical positions employed to discuss African cinema, all of which take for granted that African cinema should be essentially distinct, although they have difficulty identifying its unique characteristics.1

The three approaches that the author...

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