Films by Sarah Maldoror: Sambizanga and Monangambé
Two films by French filmmaker Sarah Maldoror highlight women’s critical role in the fight for Angolan independence. In Sambizanga (1972), based on a novella about the brutalization of political prisoners during the revolution, Maria (Elisa Andrade) searches for her husband, a revolutionary who has been kidnapped and tortured by Portuguese colonial officials. Co-written with her husband, Angolan liberation activist Mário Pinto de Andrade, the film makes Maria a symbol of the emerging consciousness of the Angolan people. Andrade also stars in Monangambé (1969), a short film made with nonprofessional actors during Angola's Armed Struggle of National Liberation and featuring a score by avant-garde jazz group the Art Ensemble of Chicago. In it, a misunderstanding over language during a woman’s visit to her imprisoned husband leads the guards to torture him, underscoring Maldoror’s theme of the futility of negotiation between the oppressed and their oppressors. (Sarah Maldoror, France/Angola, 1969/1972, 119 min., DCP)
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Restored by Cineteca di Bologna and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at L’Image Retrouvée (Paris) from the 35mm original negatives, in association with Éditions René Chateau and the family of Sarah Maldoror. Funding provided by Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, an initiative created by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, the FEPACI and UNESCO – in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna – to help locate, restore and disseminate African cinema.