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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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Wreckage, Fragments and Non-Places: The Life of Cape Verdean Immigrants in Cavalo Dinheiro by Pedro Costa (Doris Wieser)


Doris Wieser

Wreckage, Fragments and Non-Places: The Life of Cape Verdean Immigrants in Cavalo Dinheiro by Pedro Costa


The feature-length film, Cavalo Dinheiro [Horse Money] (2014), directed by the Portuguese film maker Pedro Costa, is the continuation of his trilogy on the life of Cape Verdean immigrants in the suburbs of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. This chapter proposes a chronotopic reading of the film, questioning the relationship between space and time, in view of the success or failure in building a collective (transnational or local) identity. The analysis is based primarily on the concepts of ‘non-place’ (Augé) and ‘heterotopia’ (Foucault), placing, moreover, Pedro Costa’s docufiction in its proper socio-historical context.


Pedro Costa, a Portuguese film maker born in Lisbon in 1959, has explored like no one else the life of Cape Verdean immigrants. After filming Casa de Lava [Down to Earth] (1995) in Cape Verde, he made contact with immigrants in the Lisbon suburbs, since some of the people he had met on the islands had given him letters for their family members in Portugal (Villarmea Álvarez 2014: 21). This experience inspired the director to produce a trilogy on the people living in the Fontainhas neighbourhood (Amadora): Ossos [Bones] (1997), No quarto de Vanda [In Vanda’s Room] (2000) and Juventude em marcha [Colossal Youth] (2006). Alongside these full-length films, he has made a series of shorts – Tarrafal (2007), A caça ao coelho com pau [Rabbit Hunters] (2007)...

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