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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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When the Chess Board Had Only White Pieces: A Study of Ilhéu de Contenda, the Book and the Film (Jane Tutikian)


Jane Tutikian

When the Chess Board Had Only White Pieces: A Study of Ilhéu de Contenda, the Book and the Film

Que a ficção, que é sempre um documentário […], explore sem censuras o coração humano. Que o documentário revele de forma transparente a sua dose de ficcionalidade. E que não esqueçamos as palavras de Elias Canetti: ‘Não acredite em alguém que sempre diz a verdade.’

— Jorge Furtado, Film maker

[Let fiction, which is always a documentary […], explore the human heart without censorship. Let the documentary reveal its dose of fictionality with transparency. And let us not forget the words of Elias Canetti: ‘Don’t believe someone who always tells the truth.’]


This article aims to study Ilhéu de Contenda, the film directed by Leão Lopes (1996), based on the homonymous novel by Sousa Teixeira (1978). It analyses the dialogue between the two languages, the cinematographic and the literary, and their relationship with the socio-historical context in Cabo Verde, on Ilha do Fogo, in the last years of colonialism. This is the time of decline of the white native aristocracy and the social rise of the mulatto.1 It is interesting how a traditional, clearly neo-realist novel, acts as the basis for the break that characterizes the new cinemas – as a movement – that come into fashion after the Second World War. This research starts out from the fine line between...

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