Accepted Paper:

Independence through the lens: Ruy Duarte de Carvalho's documentaries and the building of national identity(s)  


Ines Dias (University of California, Los Angeles)

Paper short abstract:

My paper wants to discuss Ruy Duarte the Carvalho’s documentaries on the Independence process of Angola, and how it imagines a new, diversified nation, through the testimony of its citizens.

Paper long abstract:

The Angolan writer Ruy Duarte de Carvalho is also the author of various documentaries. There is a group of films, directed from 1975 to 1982, that deal with the independence process in Angola, and the building of a national identity. Some depict the celebration of Independence (Uma Festa para Viver - A Party to be Lived), and how the citizens from Luanda (Angola's capital) felt towards the process and how they prepared for the festivities. Other films, like How it was, How it was not (Como foi, Como não foi), represent rural populations and voice their experience during the colonial rule, hitherto silenced. Others portray the Mumuila people, an Angolan ethnic group often underrepresented.

Independence was a central issue in the filming of these documentaries. As Carvalho notices in his book O Camarada e a Câmara: Para Além do Filme Etnográfico, the diversity of cultures and languages throughout the Angolan territory should be brought to light and discussed in the context of the independence process. Therefore, Carvalho's images want to build a multifarious national identity that encompasses the diversity of cultures and voices in the new country. In my paper I want to discuss how the director builds a discourse on national identity through the documentary film, and how it gives voice to the varied populations silenced by Portuguese colonialism, thus imagining a future for a new, independent Angola.

Panel P083
Revolution 3.0: iconographies of utopia in Africa and its diaspora