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23.03.2019 | 20H

la lumière collective
7080-506, rue Alexandra
Montréal [QC]




7$ à la porte.

Présenté par

la lumière collective


Screening and Discussion of Sarah Maldoror’s
Sambizanga (1972, 102mins)
The first African woman to direct a feature, Sarah Maldoror made Sambizanga following her training at the Soviet Union cinema institute, VGIK (Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography), where her approach to filmmaking became especially politicized. Personally embedded within the MLPA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola), Maldoror was invited to the film program, an initiative of Soviet cultural diplomacy in promoting socialist internationalism amid the bi-polar world order throughout Africa’s decolonization.
Told through a woman’s point of view, Sambizanga draws the birth of a movement in the history of the Angolan liberation struggle. Using a fictional narrative, Maldoror crafts a previously unexplored vision of an actual armed struggle and the life around it, wherein the very onset of the MLPA’s fight against Portuguese authority in 1961 is captured: rural regions wrestling with organizing the people as the city sectors mobilize, with activists only starting to be forced underground.
Maldoror’s film visualizes the awakening of a community’s political consciousness, especially potent as it relates a woman’s experience throughout the Angolan liberation struggle – caught between her multiple roles, her love, and the consuming battle that fuels decolonization. Maldoror employed the medium of film to take a position, to educate the people, the West, to regard what it takes to prepare and tackle a colonizer’s force. Mixing traditional Angolan values with Marxist notions of class solidarity, Maldoror excavates the sources of the Angolan struggle with the vibrance of narrative and image – woven together through the poignant strength of community.
We are interested in addressing the ambivalent construction undergirding the production of Sambizanga, a film constituted by the USSR’s role in decolonization efforts as well as the importance of having an African woman involved at every stage of filmmaking (in the image, behind the camera, editing, exhibiting). We will consider what it means for a socialist state’s public program to facilitate the emergence of Third Worldist projects, relative to the Soviet legacy today and the concept of pluralizing post-socialism as a method for new practices and imaginaries necessary to political change (Atanasoski & Vora, 2018). We will explore the role of art in continuing the resistance to colonial, neoliberal, racist fixtures today.
Based out of Concordia’s Global Emergent Media Lab, and operating alongside Politics of Alternative Media, Cinema in the Midst of Struggle is a screening series curated by Dasha Vzorov, Kaity Zozula, and Soraya Atayee. The curatorial process and production practices of the film projects selected are informed mainly by a woman-focused methodology.
Our programming foregrounds different historical models of political filmmaking that came to be within conflicting infrastructural and contextual dynamics. The selected films are separated by temporality and geopolitics, but each challenge the necessity of an idealized form of activist film-work by exemplifying real projects that took on the resources of their circumstance to politicize a message or bring light to an urgent struggle. Understanding the relations between these films and struggles as well as the alternative modes of production and distribution engendered in these cases, works to revive lines of internationalist solidarity across time and space – through the films themselves, the conversations they urge, and the type of practices they took on to be made and seen as well as what screening them here has entailed.
Cinema in the Midst of Struggle is made possible through the generous support of the Sustainability Action Fund, the Concordia Council on Student Life, and the School of Graduate Studies