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Re-imagine the (post) colonial archive

Re-imagine the (post) colonial archive

cycle of films and debates

Re-imagine the (post) colonial archive

cycle of films and debates

Conceived as a retrospective of the various cinematic sub-genres of colonial films, this programme presents films that have recently been restored, reusing colonial images to promote discussions about their origin, about the present and about the ethics inherent in their use. After each screening, we will hold a debate with the guests invited to take part in the international programme Everything passes, except the past. The complete programme of films and the participants will be announced in due course.

Maria do Carmo Piçarra is a researcher, university lecturer and the author of several books and articles about cinema and post-colonialism.


25 SEP

Reflections/refractions I: Re-signify through the “analytical camera”

Moderator: Maria do Carmo Piçarra
Film: Dal polo all'Equatore (1986, 96 min), Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi

26 SEP

Reflections/refractions II: Look(s) and memory(ies) through artistic approaches

Participants: Inadelso Cossa, Maria do Carmo Piçarra, Tamer El Said
Films: Sad song of Touha (1972, 12 min), Atteyat Al Abnoudy
Un carnaval en Bissau (1980, 13 min), Sarah Maldoror
Préface à Des fusils pour Banta (2011, 26 min), Mathieu Kleyebe Abbonnenc
Uma memória em três atos (2016, 64 min), Inadelso Coisa

27 SEP

Reflections/refractions III: Screenings ofa struggle that is not over yet

Presenters: Filipa César, Sana Na N'Hada
Moderator: Nuno Lisboa
Film: Spell Reel (2017, 96 min), Filipa César

© Francisco Vidal.

25 SEP 2019
WED 21:30

26 SEP 2019
THU 21:30

27 SEP 2019
FRI 18:30

Small Auditorium and Live streaming
Free entry
Duration 2h

* Subject to availability. Tickets available on the day at the ticket-office from half-hour before each session

In English and Portuguese

Presentation Re-imagine the post-colonial archives

The film series Re-imagine the post-colonial archives. Reflections/refractions was conceived to enhance critical awareness and debate about the ethics and practices of the archive-image in relation to the post-colonial situation. What I consider as archive-image are just as much films that work with montage of archival images used as memoir, as pieces of work that (re)envision and suggest redefinitions of the archive creating new images, like Gianikian/Ricci-Lucchi do with their “analytical camera”. Incorporating the participants’ film suggestions, the series consists of closed sessions for researchers, archivists, curators, activists and artists attending the workshop and three sessions open to the public.

The public sessions conclude each day of the workshop, opening up to a widened debate. In these sessions, the resignification enhanced by the “analytic camera” is the starting point for a discussion on the possibilities of reusing the (post-)colonial images to unveil contemporary approaches and films that were “erased” by politics of the memory and to think about a genealogy of the archive-image, perceiving them also as praxis as they claim to be “screenings of a fight that is not over yet”.

This dispositive provides us with images that trigger a dialogue through which we can think and experiment practices that make us question these images and potentiate new artistic and archival perspectives, as well as new horizons for programming, investigation and citizenship. What we are looking for is a critical conscience for representations that are calcified or absent from the archives, building a debate about the modes of re-imagination and ethical approaches – not only to those images that become archive-image but also to the image archives in their materiality.


Maria do Carmo Piçarra


Movies Presentations Re-imagine the post-colonial archives

Dal polo all’equatore // From the Pole to the Equator 

Angela Ricci Lucchi and Yervant Gianikian

1986 | 98 min | cor | 16mm


In this rarely screened 16mm experimental film, their first to gain international acclaim, Italian avant-garde filmmakers Angela Ricci Lucchi and Yervant Gianikian re-edit footage shot in the 1910s by Luca Comerio. Comerio was a pioneering Italian documentary filmmaker who photographed ‘exotic’ peoples from the North Pole to the Equator and drew footage from around the globe to celebrate the vitality and achievements of European colonialism – most of all Italian fascism. Altering Comerio's footage, Ricci Lucchi and Gianikian tease out the ideology written upon and between every image. In Gianikian's words: “the violence of colonialism as it plays itself out in different situations and spheres.”



Sad Song of Touha 

Atteyat Al Abnoudy

1971 | 12 min | black and white | digital video and 16mm


El Abnoudy's second film is a fascinating portrait of Cairo's street performers. In a typically unobtrusive manner, the filmmaker has successfully captured the essence and unique quality of this subculture unified as much by their talents as their marginal social stature. Through the haunting images of tiny child contortionists and seasoned fire-eaters this tightly knit community and its secrets unfold with the cinematic qualities of a dream. It is an homage to the artistry, showmanship and wonder of Cairo's streets.


Un carnaval en Guinée-Bissau 

Sarah Maldoror

1980 | 13 min | colour


This documentary deals with the meaning of black identity with regard to Carnival festivities. Sarah Maldoror, the mother of African cinema, investigated her continent’s history and culture from an Afrocentric perspective and documented carnival festivities in the films Un Carnaval dans le Sahel (1979), which was produced in Cape Verde, and the short film Carnaval en Guinée-Bissau (1980).


Préface à Des fusils pour Banta  //  Foreword to Guns for Banta 

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc

2011 | 26 min


Foreword to Guns for Banta focuses on the lost film Guns for Banta (1970), the first feature-length film by Sarah Maldoror. Financed by the Algerian army, which hoped to turn it into a propaganda tool, the film was confiscated from Maldoror because of her demands for full control over the editing. To this day the reels have not been identified or returned. What remains of Guns for Banta are a collection of photographs taken by Suzanne Lipinska during the filming and fragmented memories of Sarah Maldoror and other witnesses, collected by Abonnenc over two years of conversations with the filmmaker.


A Memory in Three Acts

Inadelso Cossa

2016 | 64 min 


Mozambique colonial history left a big wound in the country’s collective memory. The first feature-length film by Mozambican director Inadelso Cossa is a poetic essay on post-colonial trauma and collective memory loss and a research on the Portuguese colonial past. Uma memória em Três Atos gives voice to those silenced during the regime (emprisoned, tortured or forced to live clandestinly), confronting them with the places of their silencing.



Spell Reel

A collective film, assemblage and essay by Filipa César, with Anita Fernandez, Flora Gomes, Sana na N’Hada et al.

2017 | 96 min | colour | HD and 16mm transfered to video


In 2011, an archive of film and audio material re-emerged in Bissau. On the verge of complete ruination, the footage testifies to the birth of Guinean cinema as part of the decolonizing vision of Amílcar Cabral, the liberation leader assassinated in 1973. In collaboration with the Guinean filmmakers Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes, and many allies, Filipa César imagines a journey where the fragile matter from the past operates as a visionary prism of shrapnel to look through. Digitized in Berlin, screened and live commented, the archive convokes debates, storytelling, and forecasts. From their screening in isolated villages in Guinea-Bissau to European capitals, the silent reels are now a place from which people may search for antidotes to a world in crisis.


Bios Participants Everything Passes, Except The Past



Maria do Carmo Piçarra: Blues of the overseas. Colonial propaganda and censorship in films during the Estado Novo

Maria do Carmo Piçarra is a professor at the Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, a researcher at ICNOVA and a grant holder (2018-2019) from Fundação Oriente to study “Cinema Empire” - Representations of “Portuguese Asia” in the Film Archives. She holds a PhD in Communication Sciences, having, between 2013-2018, developed the postdoctoral research “Cinema Empire - Portugal, France and England, representations of the empire in cinema”. She is a film programmer, co-founder of ANIKI - Portuguese Journal of Moving Image and was deputy chair of the Portuguese Institute of Cinema, Audiovisual and Multimedia (1998-1999). Among other publications, has published the two-volume work, Salazar vai ao cinema (Salazar goes to the movies), and Azuis ultramarinos. Censura e propaganda no cinema do Estado Novo (Ultramarine blues. Censorship and propaganda in Estado Novo's cinema). With Jorge António, she coordinated the trilogy, Angola, o nascimento de uma nação (Angola, the birth of a Nation), and, with Teresa Castro,  Re-Imagining African Independence. Film, Visual Arts and the Fall of the Portuguese Empire.


Stefanie Schulte Strathaus: Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus is Co-Director of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art and founding director of Forum Expanded, a section of the Berlin International Film Festival. Her curatorial work comprises numerous film programs, retrospectives and exhibitions. Since 2010 her main focus lies on the Arsenal's film archive and on new concepts of curating film archives in general. In this context she has been working closely with archives in Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Sudan. She currently co-curates the project „Archive außer sich“ with the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Film Feld Forschung GmbH, Harun Farocki Institut, SAVVY Contemporary, pong film GmbH and the master’s program “Film Culture: Archiving, Programming, Presentation” at the Goethe University Frankfurt, taking place in in the framework of „The New Alphabet“, a project of Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.


Tamer El Said: Film archive & Revolution in Egypt

Tamer El Said is a filmmaker and producer living between Berlin and Cairo. He made many documentaries and short films that received several international and local awards. He founded Zero Production in 2007 to produce independent films. He is also a founder of Cimatheque - Alternative Film Centre in Egypt, a multi-purpose space that provides facilities, training and programing for the independent filmmaking community. Cimatheque has also built an archive that houses a growing collection of diverse film-related material. Tamer’s first feature length film, In the Last Days of the City, was premiered in the Berlinale 2016 and has been invited to over 160 festivals worldwide receiving more than a dozen of international awards.


Didi Cheeka: Off-Nollywood filmmaker and critic

Didi Cheeka is the co-founder and artistic director of Lagos Film Society - an alternative cinema centre dedicated to the founding of the first arthouse cinema in Nigeria. He is the initiator of the archival project Reclaiming History, Unveiling Memory - aimed at re-discovering and digitizing Nigeria's [post-]colonial audio-visual heritage. In collaboration with Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art, Didi has launched Decasia - International Film Festival of Rescued Images, a biennial that holds between Lagos/ Berlin.


Filipa César: Spell Reel, Archive and oral testimony

Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in the fictional aspects of the documentary, the porous borders between cinema and its reception, and the politics and poetics inherent to the moving image and imaging technologies. Since 2011, she has been researching the origins of the cinema of the African Liberation Movement in Guinea Bissau as a laboratory of resistance to ruling epistemologies - her film “Spell Reel” is the result of a multifaceted research and digitisation project that she initiated with Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes. The resulting body of work comprises 16 mm films, digital archives, videos, seminars, screenings, publications, ongoing collaborations with artists, theorists and activists.


Fradique (Mário Bastos): Filmmaker from Angola

Born in Luanda in 1986, Fradique (Mário Bastos) is one of the most exciting and talented voices of Angolan Cinema. He attended the New York Film Academy and got his bachelor degree in Fine Arts (Directing) at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. In 2010, with Jorge Cohen and Tchiloia Lara, he set up in Angola the production company Geração 80. From 2010 to 2015 he worked on his first full-length documentary, Independence, about Angola's liberation struggle. The film was released theatrically in Angola in 2015 and won the Angola's Culture National Prize for Cinema. It was recognized as a remarkable step towards recovering Angola's collective memory.

His next films, currently in post-production and in development are Air Conditioner (2020) and The Kingdom of Casuarinas (2022), an adaptation of the novel with the same name by the Angolan author José Luís Mendonça. Both films deal with hope and dreams in Angola's society, which became shattered memories that were left behind for the sake of individual and collective survival.


Inadelsso Cossa: Film director, producer and cinematographer from Mozambique

Inadelso Cossa is a film director, producer and cinematographer based in Mozambique. Cossa’s first feature length documentary ‘A Memory in Three Acts’ was selected for the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2016's First Appearance competition, has since then travelled through Festivals around the world and won the Special Jury Award at Zanzibar International Film Festival 2018. In 2018, Cossa was a jury member of IDFA's Competition for Short Documentary, of the International award jury at Sheffield Doc Fest 2019 and Golden Tree Int. Doc Festival 2019. He is now working on his feature narrative film project 'Karingana - The dead Tell no Tales' and his second feature documentary called 'The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder'.


Sana Na N’Hada: Director and writer knowing the best and the worst times in Guinea-Bissau

Sana Na N'Hada was born in 1950 in Enxale, Guinea-Bissau. He is a director and writer, known for Xime (1994), Kadjike (2013) and Os Escultores de Espíritos (2015). In a cinematic career spanning some four plus decades Sana Na N’Hada has borne witness to the best and the worst times in Guinea-Bissau. He joined Amìlcar Cabral’s revolutionary army in the heady days of the war for independence. In the restive years following self-rule he set about making evocative films that captured and challenged the prevailing zeitgeist. He is also cofounder of the Instituto Nacional de Cinema da Guiné-Bissau, creator of the Cinema Ambulante in Guiné-Bissau, areporter and activist.


Liliana Coutinho: Curator Talks and Lectures, Culturgest

Liliana Coutinho has a doctorate in Aesthetics and Sciences of Art by University Paris 1 -Sorbonne, a Master in Curatorial Studies as well as a degree in Sculpture. She is Invited Professor at the Post-graduation course on Curating, at FCSH-NOVA University of Lisbon, a researcher at Instituto de História Contemporânea – FCSH/UNL and at Institut A.C.T.E – Université Paris 1.   She is the curator and coordinator of conferences and debates at Culturgest - a foundation dedicated to contemporary creation. Culturgest presents national and international programs of Performing Arts, Music, Visual Arts, Cinema and Contemporary Thought.


Cristina Roldão: Social and ethnic-racial inequalities in the Portuguese society

Cristina Roldão is a sociologist, invited professor at ESE-IPS, a researcher at CIES-IUL and a member of the coordination section Classes, Inequalities and Public Policies at the Portuguese Association of Sociology. Social inequalities at school are her main field of research, with a particular focus on the processes of exclusion and institutional racism that affect Afro-descendants in Portuguese society. In addition to the academic space in stricto sensu, she has participated in the external evaluation of numerous programs, in prospective studies, was a member of the initial team of the Observatory for the Pathways of Secondary School Students, and has participated in the broad public debate on racism and ethnic-racial inequalities in Portuguese society. 


Tiago Baptista: head of the conservation centre of Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do Cinema

Tiago Baptista is the head of the conservation centre of Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do Cinema and a member of the Executive Committe of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF). He received his PhD in Film and Screen Media from the University of London (Birkbeck College), is an integrated researcher at Instituto de História Contemporânea-NOVA FCSH, and invited lecturer at FCH-Universidade Católica Portuguesa.








Cycle Colonial Memories


The debate about the memories of the colonial period has moved into the public arena and is now the subject of intense artistic production. The Colonial Memories cycle opens up yet more room for this theme, welcoming the people and projects involved in its continuous research.

The research groups AFRO-PORT Afro-descendants in Portugal (ISEG) and Memorialist Discourses and the Building of History (School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon) will be presenting the lecture Politics of selective memory by the Moroccan historian Fatima Harrak. This is a reflection on the effects of “selective memory” in the present-day political world, in which the author defends the idea of an “entangled history” between the colonisers and the people that they colonised.

Everything passes, except the past is a programme about the colonial legacy in the public space, museums and archives of various European countries, led by the Goethe Institut. It is coming to Portugal in the form of a round-table discussion and a cycle of films and debates about the post-colonial film archives.

The project MEMOIRS — Children of the Empire and European Postmemories, which brings together researchers interested in comparing colonial memories in the French, Belgian and Portuguese contexts, will present a debate, a film session and a performance dealing with the same question: how are the memories of the end of colonialism manifested in social, cultural and artistic terms in Europe?

Colonialism and its consequences has been the preferred theme for the work of the Hotel Europa theatre company. André Amálio opens up his personal archive of interviews, books, videos, family photographs and war documents, and revisits his theatrical creations in the 13-hour-long performance of The End of Portuguese Colonialism. Culturgest also presents the world première of "Children of Portuguese Colonialism", a new production of Hotel Europa. The visual artist Francisco Vidal, with whom we worked on developing the image of the materials to be used for promoting this cycle, has also been asked to participate in this programme.

What have the people who lived through colonialism transmitted to contemporary generations? Colonial Memories is an invitation to engage in this reflection.



Fatima Harrak: Politics of selective memory
SET 19 THU 18:30

Everything passes, except the past
SET 24 TUE 18:30

Hotel Europa: The end of Portuguese colonialism (installation) 
SET 25 WED — 27 FRI 11:00 - 18:30
SET 28 SAT — 29 SUN 15:00 - 18:30

Reimagine the post-colonial archives
SET 25 WED 21:30
SET 26 THU 21:30
SET 27 FRI 18:30 

African memories of Portugal
SET 26 THU 18:30

Hotel Europa: The Children of Colonialism
SET 26 THU 21:00
SET 27 FRI 21:00
SET 28 SAT 19:00

Arts in Europe in postmemory era
OUT 3 THU 18:30

Fatima Sissani: Zahra's Mother Tongue
OUT 3 THU 21:30

Hotel Europa: The end of Portuguese colonialism (performance)
OUT 5 SAT 11:00 – 0:00





Tudo Passa, Excepto o Passado

Co-funded by the Creative Europe programme project Create to Connect, Create to Impact

Create do Connect


Maria do Carmo Piçarra

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