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Drama | Running Time: 97 minutes

1972 / Lingala and Portuguese

Country: Angola and France

Directed by: Sarah Maldoror

MENA Premiere




Elisa Andrade, Jean M'vondo, Dino Abelino, Benoît Moutsila, Talagongo , Lopes Rodrigues, Henriette Meya, Manuel Videira

Maurice Pons, Mario De Andre

Sarah Maldoror, a pioneer of African film-making, brings a woman’s perspective to the explosive beginnings of the Angolan war of independence. Shot in the Congo, her film is adapted from a novella called The Real Life of Domingos Xavier by Jose Luandino Vieira, which was itself based on real events. The Sambizanga district of Luanda was home to a Portuguese prison where militants were incarcerated and tortured under the colonial regime. The film follows the radical Maria (played by Cape Verde economist Elisa Andrade) as she searches for her missing husband Xavier. His discovery in Sambizanga triggers an attack on the prison by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – of which Maldoror’s own husband was a leader – and, ultimately, a national uprising. According to British critic Mark Cousins, the cast of activist non-professionals brings conviction to a film that is as beautifully lit as a Caravaggio painting.