Filipa César, Spell Reel, 2017. Production still courtesy of and © the artist

Filipa César, Spell Reel, 2017. Production still courtesy of and © the artist

Filipa César
Spell Reel

Saturday 9 June 2018

Cinema, Horsebridge Arts Centre

2017 (subtitles, certificate 15)

The first image is in black and white, upside down and projected into a black box that then becomes the frame. It now hovers like a time capsule near a man’s face. He looks down, listening in on a female guerrilla fighter and translating her words from Fulani. Within the capsule, money is counted and paid out as a new currency, the numbers of the years run backwards in the black box. A 16-mm film glides through the man’s hands and is transferred to a laptop screen frame by frame.

“The debut feature from Portuguese artist Filipa César is a collaborative reflection on West African political history – and the role of moving images in the creation and legacy of that history. Filmmakers Sana Na N’Hada, Flora Gomes, José Bolama Cobumba, and Josefina Crato set out to document Guinea-Bissau’s war of independence from Portugal (1963–74) and the subsequent years of socialist rule. In 1979, Chris Marker would spend several months with these filmmakers, and would integrate carnival footage shot by N’Hada into his Sans Soleil.

Reflecting that much of the footage from the period survives only as fragments, the film asks, What is restoration where there is no original to return to? In superbly vivid tableaux, the film juxtaposes the black-and-white 16mm footage with contemporary digital images. The film also documents the 2014 mobile cinema tour that introduced the digitised footage to Guinean audiences for the first time.”
(Sophie Cavoulacos, MOMA NYC)

1 hour 36 minutes long.