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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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The ‘Sounds’ of Lusophony: The Question of Language in Two Films with Cape Verdean Themes (Ellen W. Sapega)


Ellen W. Sapega

The ‘Sounds’ of Lusophony: The Question of Language in Two Films with Cape Verdean Themes


The year 1998 marked the premiere of two films by Portuguese directors that take place in the Cape Verdean city of Mindelo: Fintar o Destino [Dribbling Fate] (directed by Fernando Vendrell) and O Testamento do Senhor Napumoceno [Napumoceno’s Will] (directed by Francisco Manso). Although the plots of these films share some common elements arising from situations related to the colonial and postcolonial experience of the islands, several of the directors’ production options differed significantly. In the first film, the cast was predominantly Cape Verdean (and therefore unknown to foreign audiences), while in the second, well-known Brazilian actors interpreted the principal roles. In this essay, I comment on the repercussions of these choices, paying close attention to the language employed in each film. In Manso’s movie, the characters communicate almost exclusively in Portuguese, while most of the dialogue in Vendrell’s film takes place in Cape Verdean Crioulo. As part of my analysis, I ask whether the financial support for these films’ production had an impact on the casting process, in order to develop a wider reflection on the transnational dimension of both films and to address some of the contradictions faced by Portuguese directors who wish to capture Cape Verdean experience.

After the revolution of 1974–5, while Portugal was getting ready to join the European Economic Community (EEC), many Portuguese politicians and cultural...

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