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Kuxa Kanema: The rise and fall of an experimental documentary series in Mozambique

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The subject of this article is the monthly documentary series, Kuxa Kanema (birth of the image) produced in Mozambique from 1978 to 1986. The series recorded the blind optimism that follows the parturition of a nation, articulates cinematographic formal invention, and documents the decline of Mozambique into civil war. It essentially traces the birth and death of a fledgling socialist democracy and the similar rise and fall of cinema itself in that country. It is noteworthy that the National Institute of Cinema was created just five months after the independence of Mozambique in 1975, the government quickly mobilizing the power of the moving image in propagating its ideological message. As Kuxa Kanema was produced by the aforementioned state institute, it brandishes the trappings of being an official propaganda vector but its desire to allow the Mozambican people reappropriate their image helps it overcome these limitations as does its aesthetic originality.

Keywords: documentary cinema; political cinema; propaganda; reception; reflexivity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Dublin City University

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film. 
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