Ines Cordeiro da Silva Dias, Lecturer in Lusophone Studies at the University of Leeds will present the talk "The Birth of a Nation through Film: the Mozambican Film Institute." This talk inaugurates the lecture series "Charting the Portuguese Black Atlantic" at New York University.
Co-Sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies(CLACS), the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, the Center for the Study of Africa and the African Diaspora (CSAAD), the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics, and the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center(KJCC).
When Mozambique gained independence in 1975, film became one of the most important cultural projects of its first government, headed by FRELIMO (Mozambican Liberation Front). One of the pressing issues of the new government was to create an idea of nationhood in a country where many ethnic groups, cultures, and languages coexisted. With a literacy rate of only 15%, film became an important tool in the creation of national identity, by serving as a vehicle for imagining a new community, in the sense described by Benedict Anderson. In 1976, the government created the Instituto Nacional de Cinema – INC (National Film Institute), which was one of the first and most important cultural endeavors of FRELIMO. The INC would become responsible for the entire national film production during the next two decades.
Mozambique became the first African country to have the entire structure needed to produce films, including laboratories to edit, develop, and finalize them, without the need to use facilities outside of the continent. The INC counted with the collaboration of many international filmmakers and technicians. Brazilian cinematographers played a major role in the training of INC young professionals and in the organization of the Institute. Therefore, international cooperation became central to the development of a national cinema. In my presentation, I will discuss how the new nation was imagined through cinema, how international cooperation became an important part in the development of a national cinema, and the impact that film had on the idea of Mozambican nationhood.
About the Speaker:
Inês Cordeiro Dias is a Lecturer of Lusophone Studies at the University of Leeds (UK). Before that, she was an Assistant Professor of Portuguese at Spelman College, and she completed her PhD at UCLA. She is currently finishing her first monograph, Imagining Nationhood: Political Cinema in the Lusophone World, which focuses on how politics and film interact in Portuguese-speaking countries, in particular Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, and Angola. Her next research project will focus on the representations of urban spaces in the 21st century Lusophone context, with a focus on how marginalised communities represent themselves and claim their space in the city through art.