Angola Cinematography

According to, the Angolan film is one of the most politicized cinemas on the African continent, in tune with the country’s historical path. The Angola, in Portuguese hands since the 16th century, was for a long time the typical colony of exploitation; in 1961 various independence movements (the most important of which was the MPLA, Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola) began guerrilla operations. After independence (1975) an uninterrupted civil war began among the various organizations, divided by ethnic and political reasons, albeit interspersed with long periods of truce. Cinema reflected the vicissitudes of the anticolonial opposition and the civil war. In the 1960s, during the war of liberation, the documentaries of the MPLA’s information and propaganda department constituted valuable counter-information materials, which anticipated the subsequent works of the protagonists of Angolan cinema. The first feature-length feature film, based on a work by the Angolan writer L. Vieira, was Sambizanga (1972) by Sarah Maldoror (a French woman with a father from Guadeloupe); shot in Congo, it tells with great expressive force, through the portrait of a stubborn female character, the rebellion of a people against the Portuguese dictatorship of Angola Salazar: for this reason it was possible to project it in Angola only after the end of colonial domination.

The years immediately following independence were the most significant for Angolan cinematography, from 1977 to the early 1980s guaranteed and supported by the Instituto Angolano do Cinema, directed by L. Vieira. Among the important films are the documentaries Resistencia popular en Benguela (1975) by Antonio Ole, Retrospectiva (1976) by Carlos de Sousa and Costa, the ten Angolan Presente episodes of the series Tempo mumuila (1979-1981) by Rui Duarte de Carvalho (a Portuguese who became an Angolan citizen after independence) and Memoria de um dia (1982) by Orlando Fortunato de Oliveira, between documentary and fiction, one of the best works. We should also mention the numerous documentaries made in that period by the brothers Carlos, Francisco and Vitor Henriques: in particular, respectively, Asas da revolução, canhoes da libertade (1979), O golpe (1977), Revolução revolução (1980). Duarte de Carvalho was the first to make a locally produced fiction feature film, Nelisita (1982): a political and visionary film, characterized by the use of black and white and based on the oral tradition of the Nyaneka, a population of the Southeast of the country.

Film production then entered a serious crisis: Duarte de Carvalho had to wait until 1989 to shoot (but in Cape Verde) his second feature film, Moia, o recado das ilhas, also known as Le message des îles, built on the path of a woman who returns to her homeland in search of her roots; and later the business was kept alive only by a few authors of short films, such as Zézé Gamboa (remembered by Mopiopio, also known as Souffle d’Angola, 1990, a survey of the capital Luanda and its musical groups) and Mariano Bartolomeu (Un lugar limpio y bien iluminado, 1991; Quem fas correr Quim ?, 1992). In more recent years, the use of video has allowed the Angola not to completely disappear from the maps of African cinema.


According to a 1940 census, the population would amount to 3,738,010 residents, of which 44,083 white and 28,035 mulatto on an area of ​​1,246,700 sq km. (dens. 2,9). This population is divided into the following provinces: Loanda residents 66,931, Cabinda (capital Cabinda, pop. 1554) pop. 46.277, Congo (capital Ufge, pop. 1474) pop. 672.535, Malange (chief town Malange, pop. 5299) pop. 678.721, Benguella (capital S. Felipe del Benguella pop. 14.288) pop. 1.100.104, Bihé (capital Silva Pôrto, pop. 4571) pop. 700,400, Huilla (capital Sán da Bandeira, pop.8521) pop. 473.041. The capital São Paulo de Loanda had 61,028 residents in 1944. of which 8944 whites, 6175 mulattoes and the rest blacks. Other notable centers: Caseito (pop. 8690), Lobito (pop. 13,592), Nova Lisbõa (pop. 16,288), the future capital.


The economic and agricultural resources are: cotton, grown on 65-70,000 ha. approximately with a production of 113.000 q. of seeds and 52,000 of textiles in 1944-45; coffee (320,000 q. widespread in considerable proportions in the areas of Bembe, Enconge and the Amboim plateau; rubber in the initial phase. Corn production is always conspicuous (1945: 500-600,000 ha. and almost 3 million q.). On the highlands, livestock farming gives an asset to the export of skins and can count on over a million cattle; fishing has also proved to be an activity of some interest (56,000 tons in 1943) for the production of flour and oil. fish (Benguella and Mossamedes) Mineral resources are always scarce, the exploitation of which is only just beginning.
Railway communications have not developed greatly and road construction has not greatly improved the possibility of commercial movement.

Trade between 1941 and 1945 was as follows (in millions of scudi): import: 233; 328.1; 355; 387.8; 528.7; 799.6; export: 434; 480.3; 593.3; 611.9; 637.6; 962.3.

Angola Cinematography