By Ogova Ondego
Published March 25, 2014
It may be recognised with international awards at film festivals around the globe. However, cinema from the 240-million people strong Portuguese-speaking world is largely unknown.
But that status-quo is being challenged in Kenya with the birth of a Lusophone Film Festival in Nairobi where the inaugural event of what shall be a monthly event is scheduled for March 29, 2014 at Goethe-Institut. The films to be shown shall be ILHA DAS FLORES/Isle of Flowers by Jorge Furtado (Brazil, 1989, 13’00”), NORTH ATLANTIC by Bernardo Nascimento (Portugal, 2010, 15’00”) and VIRGEN MARGARIDA/Virgin Margarida by Licinio Azevedo (Mozambique, 2012, 90’00”).
While ILHA DAS FLORES is a surrealist film following the path of a tomato from farm to dump site, with a criticism of the consumer society along the way, NORTH ATLANTIC is the story of an isolated air traffic controller in the Azores archipelago contacted by a pilot cut helplessly adrift over the North Atlantic Ocean.
VIRGEN MARGARIDA, on the other hand, is set in newly independent Mozambique in 1975. The revolutionary government, wishing to eradicate all traces of colonialism, has rounded up prostitutes and sent them to a ‘re-education’ camp in an isolated forest. There, they are to be transformed into the new women of the new country. Margarida, a 16-year-old virgin, is taken by mistake. This is her story.
This film is likely to delight and shock the viewer in equal measure. It is a documentary (or is it fiction?) employing a fiction style.
The Lusophone Film Fest is a showcase of the diversity of film production in the 8 Portuguese-speaking countries spread across 4 continents. For six months the festival will present 20 works—documentaries, animations, shorts and fictions–in monthly sessions of several films from different countries.