MUEDA 1979

MUEDA 1979 |The Mozambique Archive Series, Video HD color, 11’

This video is a close reading of a sequence taken from Mueda, Memória e Massacre, a Mozambique feature film made by Ruy Guerra in 1979. The excerpt shows the record of a popular theatrical piece staged in the North of Mozambique, in the Province of Mueda. The play was a spontaneous re-enactment of a massive killing episode that was perpetrated by the Portuguese colonial forces in 16 of June 1960. This episode was considered the event that urged mozambican people into the armed insurrection against portuguese colonialism.

This work purpose is not to explain but rather mimic the original film as a way to learn from it. Like in the original film, elements emerge from direct citation of “reality”. Then similar problems are presented: the story, the faithfulness on telling that story, how to update its transmission force, how to translate and edit as a relevant intervention...


I admire in the film the fact that images and sounds emerge on a far side of conventional acting and speaking. No matter how close the camera approaches the actors, they seem not to find a common ground with the viewer. The camera portrays itself as witness of the scenes, like in early cinema where it was only one the space a camera could capture in a long shot.

In the film, a double take suddenly denies this initial basic law: the introduction of a countershot, in the interior scenes, becomes a rift, a purposely imperfect element, allowing the imaginary division of cinematic to become concrete. This debunked element works in favor of the visibility of something else that is off screen, that was there previously and independently of the presence of the camera.

By using repetition and making the focus shift to tracking on the times a headscarf if pulled off Modesta's head, the aim is to postpone the main story to manifest itself. So the eye can be redirected towards a ficcional new state of attention, where descriptive elements about what we are actually witnessing are perceived inside the story that is being told.

MUEDA 1979 |The Mozambique Archive Series
Stereo sound Video HD color, 11’
By Catarina SImão
Editor Fernanda Gurgel
Lisbon, 2013

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