Viewing the Angolan experience of war and peace through the filmic representation of Luanda in Maria João Ganga's Na Cidade Vazia/Hollow City (2004) and Zezé Gamboa's O Herói/The Hero (2004)

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African cities have received filmic representation by politically engaged film-makers to discuss historical, political and social impacts on the different countries' populations. Similarly, certain Angolan post-civil war film-makers have set stories in an urban space to depict the consequences of over four decades of wars (1961-2002) in the country. This article therefore focuses on two films produced after 2002 and set in the capital Luanda to analyze such portrayals of Angola. It does this by conducting a close reading of passages from both films while incorporating studies about Angola's wars. The aims are to identify the ways in which the films hint at political and social issues in the country during two relatively peaceful periods and account for the difficulties Angolan civilians experienced because of the wars. The article concludes by commenting on the films' criticism of the country's current situation and the alternatives they suggest for Angolans to reconstruct their lives.

Keywords: Angola; Luanda; cinema; violence; war

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Birkbeck University of London

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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