Lusophone Africa Film Festival @ Gilmorehill G12, 31 Oct - 2 Nov

Article by Andrew McWhirter | 31 Oct 2008

The late Ousmane Sembène is not the only one who can unite African cinema and its worldly audience. Lusophone (Portuguese speaking) countries in the Dark Continent are beginning to develop a rich cinematic heritage they wish to share with the global and multicultural village.

A collaboration between The University of Glasgow, two UK African film bodies, and Portugal’s Foreign Office, brings a unique festival to Glasgow this weekend. Mozambique and Angola take centre stage as two of the seven existing Lusophone nations in Africa, and display a cinema uncovering universal perils, quirks, and truths which compliment a shared understanding between seemingly diverse societies.

On the other hand, the festival also aims to relay some of the difficulties resulting from decolonisation, as both countries bore a political and economic brunt in the 1970s when Portugal was the last of the Europeans to relinquish her grasp. It’s with this viscerally fresh past and a newly found urban-chic future that both countries seek to display their cinematic cultures at this festival.

Events and pre-screening talks will complement the chosen films, the most notable being a discussion with the founding father of Mozambican cinema, director Gabriel Mondlane. There is also a rare chance to see a European pre-release in Richard Pakleppa's Coração Mais Forte - Diário de uma Repórter (A Stronger Heart - Diary of a Reporter), which offers a multi-layered perspective on the subject of AIDS. And, using the same subject matter but in typically colourful African countenance, Orlando Mesquita's short A Bola (The Ball) takes a more comical look at protecting the defence as footballs are fashioned from condoms.

Far from exemplary of the festival’s ethos though, these tales of disease and poverty prove a mere springboard for a weekend journey traversing identity crises, war zones, and Angolan urban sounds that are as controversial as they are progressive