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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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13 Hotel Globo (Mónica de Miranda)


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13  Hotel Globo

Future Horizon(s)

Mónica de Miranda’s recent video, Hotel Globo (2015) invites us to delve in a singular place, a building that can be interpreted as a still vessel anchored in the city of Luanda: the Hotel Globo.1 The hotel was built in 1950 by Portuguese émigré doctor Francisco Martins de Almeida on the site of his medical clinic, after he initially settled in the prosperous city of Gabela, in the province of Southern Kwanza, legendary for its alleged production of the world’s best coffee. Conceptually, the derelict hotel stands as a symbolic enclave of recent Angolan history, its fabric containing the imprints of colonial Lusophone Africa and of its aftermath. The fragmentary narrative of the film is displayed in the artist’s signature diptych format, where a silent couple inhabits rooms that served as places of passage to traders from the countryside, nests for romantic encounters, but also as refuge to militias during the civil war. Significantly, Angola’s twenty-seven-year-long armed conflict became one of the hardest collateral effects of the Cold War in the confines of the old colonies: a surrogate battleground for imperial confrontation where human lives ostensibly came at a lower cost. The couple’s nonchalant wandering through the hotel facilities seems to wake up ghosts, as it rehearses an indefinite personal drama in the decaying modernist atmosphere of the building, which stands in permanent need of restoration. In this work,...

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