In conjunction with the restoration of Sambizanga (1973–1974), a key work among the political films made in Africa, this double session is structured around the French film-maker of African origins Sarah Maldoror (Gers, 1929 – Paris, 2020). The programme includes the national premiere of this restored version and the first cinema screening of the short film Miró, peintre (Miró, Painter, 1980), a commission for the television programme Aujourd'hui en France (Today in France), in which Maldoror approaches the artist from a children’s theatre piece.
The restoration of Sambizanga, carried out by Cineteca di Bologna and the World Cinema Foundation, recovers a classic of anti-colonial cinema from the film-maker’s own gaze in her first fictional feature. The film, framed by the awakening of the Angolan Independence movement, narrates the journey of a woman searching for her husband, a tractor driver and insurgent imprisoned by the Portuguese colonial police. With her baby on her back, the Angolese woman travels through the red tape and architecture of the colonial regime from Sambizanga, a working class neighbourhood in Luanda, to the centre of the city. Played by an ensemble of amateur actors — many activists in real life — the film sketches a counterpoint of the male-dominated view of resistance and is built through the eyes of the woman with great originality and beauty in its representation of rebellion: vivid colours, a measured composition, popular Angolese songs and eye-catchingly poetic daily scenes.
In 2019, the Museo Reina Sofía and DocumentaMadrid held the first retrospective devoted to the film-maker: Sarah Maldoror, Négritude Poet and Film-maker. In the wake of her death, her work has been appreciated and recovered internationally.
On this occasion, Annouchka de Andrade, the film-maker’s daughter, who has vast knowledge of her filmography, introduces Maldoror’s work in the screening on Thursday 23 February.
Thursday, 23 February 2023 – 7pm / Second session: Friday, 3 March – 7pm
Sarah Maldoror. Miró, peintre (Miró, Painter)
France, 1980, colour, original version in French and Catalan with Spanish subtitles, DA, 5’20’’
Sarah Maldoror. Sambizanga
Angola and France, 1972–1973, colour, original version in Portuguese, Lingala and Kimbundu with Spanish subtitles, DA, 98’
—Presented by Annouchka de Andrade in the first session