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(Re)imagining African Independence

Film, Visual Arts and the Fall of the Portuguese Empire


Maria do Carmo Piçarra and Teresa Castro

The fortieth anniversary of the independence of the African countries colonized by Portugal presents a valuable opportunity to reassess how colonialism has been «imagined» through the medium of the moving image. The essays collected in this volume investigate Portuguese colonialism and its filmic and audio-visual imaginaries both during and after the Estado Novo regime, examining political propaganda films shot during the liberation wars and exploring the questions and debates these generate. The book also highlights common aspects in the emergence of a national cinema in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. By reanimating (and decolonizing) the archive, it represents an important contribution to Portuguese colonial history, as well as to the history of cinema and the visual arts.


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Colonial Reflections, Post-Colonial Refractions: Film and the Moving Image in the Portuguese (Post-)Colonial Situation (Maria do Carmo Piçarra and Teresa Castro)


Maria do Carmo Piçarra and Teresa Castro Colonial Reflections, Post-Colonial Refractions: Film and the Moving Image in the Portuguese (Post-)Colonial Situation In 2015, four African nations previously colonized by Portugal – Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Sao Tomé and Principe – celebrated forty years of their independence.1 In different countries, this anniversary gave way to a number of events, ranging from official commemorations to aca- demic conferences and film retrospectives, the latter evincing the role that moving images play and have played not only as historical documents and sources, but also as a means of imagining, maintaining and projecting nationhood. This important anniversary is the starting point for this collection, which aims to explore the multiple ways in which Portuguese colonial- ism has been imagined by means of moving images. The volume assem- bles, among others, a number of contributions presented and discussed at the international conference Liberation Struggles, the Portuguese ‘End of Empire’ and the Birth (through Images) of the African Nations, held on 27 and 28 January 2016 at the Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures (CFAC), the University of Reading, and at King’s College, London, Camões Centre for Portuguese Language and Culture, organized within the framework of Maria do Carmo Piçarra’s post-doctoral project. However, the thoughts and analyses proposed here are not limited to the complex events that led to – and that occurred shortly after – the political emancipation of the four 1 Portugal recognized the independence of Guinea-Bissau on 10 September 1974. However, the PAIGC...

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