Artist Filipa César and curator Tobias Hering screen excerpts from rare films and raw footage archived at the National Film and Audiovisual Institute, Guinea-Bissau, for the first time in the UK, with the filmmaker Sana na N’Hada in attendance.
Filipa César’s long-term research project began with a focus on the influential role that Amílcar Cabral (the leader of the liberation movement against Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau, 1961–1974) played in the cinematic culture of Guinea-Bissau, but moved towards tracing the paths of the filmmakers Flora Gomes, Sana na N’Hada, Josefina Crato and José Columba Bolama, all of whom were trained at the ICAIC (Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Cinematográficos) between 1967 and 1972 at Cabral’s behest.
After independence in 1974, Guinea-Bissau experienced a short-lived socialist phase that ended in a military coup in 1980. Most of the footage the young filmmakers had been shooting throughout the country since 1973 remained unedited raw material, which, in the context of the country’s unstable political situation, was soon forgotten and, as a result, much of it was left to disappear or disintegrate over time.
The project Luta ca caba inda was initially about finding and making accessible the remains of this short phase of militant cinema in Guinea-Bissau. In collaboration with two of the filmmakers involved, Flora Gomes and Sana na N’Hada, César was able to ensure the preservation and digitalisation of the archival material.
A selection of this material will now be shown for the first time with the filmmaker Sana na N’Hada in attendance. The programme takes the fragmentary and unfinished state of the material as its starting point and as an impetus to think about film’s possibilities, and will include films and unedited footage from the national film archive in Bissau, which was recently digitised in Berlin for long-term preservation.