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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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In Search of the White Father: Filming the Island of Fogo in the Cinema of Pedro Costa and Leão Lopes (Hilary Owen)


Hilary Owen

In Search of the White Father: Filming the Island of Fogo in the Cinema of Pedro Costa and Leão Lopes

Amor é um fogo que arde sem se ver.

— Luís de Camões

[Love is a fire that burns unseen.]


Casa de Lava, directed by Pedro Costa came out in 1994 and Ilhéu de Contenda by Leão Lopes in1995. Both movies were filmed on the Cape Verdean island of Fogo, and in different ways both may be called ‘adaptations’. Lopes was inspired by Henrique Teixeira de Sousa’s novel Ilhéu de Contenda, written in 1974 and published in 1978, and Pedro Costa always claims that he based Casa de Lava on the Gothic film classic I Walked with a Zombie (simply named Zombie! in its Portuguese version), which was made in black and white by Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton. My main concern in undertaking a comparative analysis of these two films is to ascertain how far and in what ways these two films acknowledge and politically engage with the power dynamics of white paternity.

In the mid-1990s, two very different film makers, though both speakers of Portuguese, made their way to the volcanic island of Fogo in the Cape Verde archipelago in order to make full-length feature films. Casa de Lava came out in 1994, directed by the Portuguese Pedro Costa, and 1995 Ilhéu de Contenda saw the...

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