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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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Foreword (Lúcia Nagib)


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It is my great pleasure and honour to be able to write the foreword for this stupendous collection. (Re)Imagining African Independence: Film, Visual Arts and the Fall of the Portuguese Empire breaks new ground for offering, for the first time, an overarching and in-depth analysis of how Portuguese colonialism in Africa has been and continues to be represented in images. More importantly, it reveals the crucial role of cinema and photography in the very process of colonization and independence. Film was a key medium for the Estado Novo regime in Portugal to spread its patriotic and racist ideology from the 1930s onwards. And film made the ideal, and much censored, means through which anticolonial activists from both Africa and Portugal raised their voice against the oppressor, in particular from the 1970s onwards. The contributors to this book left no stone unturned in their effort to piece together the kaleidoscope that reflects the role of film and photography in the Portuguese colonial and post-colonial times. The amount of information gathered is truly staggering, but displayed with reader-friendly organization by both the authors and the editors.

Portugal prides itself not only in its extremely original cinematic production but also in the excellent scholarship produced on it, both locally and internationally. This is because both are steeped in a well-established film culture that includes one of the best film archives in the world, the Cinemateca Portuguesa. Its director,...

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