African Perspectives: Screening of “Na Cidade Vazia” on Sat. 24 April 2010 at Studio 77 in Windhoek

na cidade vazia

Within the filmseries “African Persepctives”, AfricAvenir Windhoek , presents "Na Cidade Vazia by Maria João Ganga on Saturday, 24 April 2010 at 19h00 at Studio 77. Entrance: 10,- N$.

“Na Cidade Vazia”
By Maria João Ganga
2003, Angola/Portugal, 88 min, Orig. with English subtitles

Date: 24. April 2010
Time: 19h00
Venue: Studio 77, entrance via Garten Str.
Entrance: 10,- N$

The screening is organised in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Namibia, Studio 77, Bank Windhoek Arts Festival, Hendrik Ehlers Consulting, the FNCC, Pro Helvetia Cape Town and the Angolan Embassy in Namibia.

Synopsis of film:
Hollow City is set in Angola, the civil war-torn country that had been colonized by Portugal until independence in 1975. In the village of Bie, 11-year-old N'dala sees his family massacred by soldiers. He and other orphans are rescued by a missionary nun and flown to Luanda where he runs away from the group and journeys into the heart of the giant city.

As he wanders the streets, bewildered by traffic and noise, a group of school children are rehearsing a famous fable-like play by Pepetela about a young heroic soldier named N'gunga, portrayed by 13-year-old Ze. N'gunga's perseverance, despite fear and the pain of his wounds, becomes a parable for N'dala's experience in the city "A man must never be afraid," the actors say. " A warrior must never be afraid."

With only a sack on his back and a toy car made of wire, N'dala navigates the bewildering sights and sounds of Luanda, falling asleep in an old fisherman's hut. The next day, wandering into the school where he saw Ze and the other children rehearsing, N'dala sees another part of the N'gunga play in which the hero is admonished not to travel alone.

Ze takes N'dala to meet his promiscuous godmother, Rosita, and later they meet his shady Uncle Joka. Ze pleads with Rosita to take N'dala in, but she reasons that she did not start the war, and owes nothing to anyone. When they meet her at her nightclub, however, she is tipsy and more amenable to the arrangement. N'dala moves in. For income he is supposed to sell cigarettes, and he is to help her around the house.

But with Ze at school and Rosita always out, N'dala is overcome with loneliness. He packs and returns to the fisherman, who tells him a fable of Kianda, a mermaid protecting the sea. When he falls asleep, the fisherman tenderly covers him. In the morning they fish together and N'dala takes a fish to Uncle Joka, who befriends him by welding the wire car into something more elaborate.
As Ze leaves a note at his godmother's house for N'dala to come see the N'gunga play that night, N'dala sells the beloved car for some cash. Promising him money and a trip to the beach, Joka and a cohort convince N'dala to come with them on a "job" a robbery. The nun, who has been looking for N'dala since his disappearance at the airport, is close on his heels.

Doing as Joka instructs, N'dala breaks into an apartment and lets Joka in. The phone rings. When the man they are robbing answers it, Joka jumps him, and his gun falls to the floor. Fleeing, Joka yells to N'dala to shoot, and N'dala fires. As the victim collapses, N'dala drops the gun. Suddenly paralyzed by a painting that reminds him of the night his family was massacred, he is shot by the victim an abrupt and tragic end to yet another of the Hollow City's short and innocent lives.

Awards/Prizes/Festivals:

  • Créteil International Women's Film Festival 2004, Graine de Cinéphage Award
  • Festival du Film Paris 2004, Special Jury Prize and nominated for Grand Prix
  • Festival de Paris Ile de France 2004, Prix Special de Jury
  • National Cultural and Arts prize in Visual Arts category in Angola
  • Zansibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) 2006, Winner of the Silver Dhow
  • Festival de Cinema Africano, Asia, America Latina de Milano 2004, Audience Award & 3rd Jury PrizeFestival Vues d’Afrique, Montréal, 2004
  • Festival Miroirs d'Afriques Marseille 2007, Official Competition
  • Festival de Cannes 2007, Official Selection
  • Cinemafrica Film Festival, Stockholm 2004, Official Selection

About the director:
Maria João Ganga was born in Huambo, Angola, in 1964. She studied filmmaking at L'école Superieure Libre d'etudes Cinematographiques (ESEC) in Paris. She has served as an assistant director on several documentaries, including Rostov-Luanda by Abderrahmane Sissako, and has also written and directed for theater. Hollow City is her first feature film.

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