The genre-bending work of Portuguese artist Filipa César takes up the legacies of European colonialism, focusing on moments and movements of resistance. In 2012, she began investigating a trove of footage documenting Guinea-Bissau’s war of independence from Portugal in the 1960s and 1970s. Long thought to be lost, these films mark the birth of a national cinema and the aesthetic strategy of decolonization under revolutionary leader Amílcar Cabral. In collaboration with two of the surviving filmmakers, Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes, César digitized and toured the material across Europe and Africa. Spell Reel layers the original revolutionary films with talkbacks from these events to offer a collaborative reflection on Guinea-Bissau’s history and a prismatic vision for its future.
2017, Germany/Guinea-Bissau, 96 minutes followed by discussion
Presented in partnership with SAIC’s Video Data Bank
Filipa César in person
Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in the politics and poetics inherent to imaging technologies. Since 2011, she has been researching the origins of the cinema of the African liberation movement in Guinea-Bissau as a laboratory of resistance. The resulting body of work comprises 16mm films, digital archives, videos, seminars, screenings, publications, ongoing collaborations with artists, theorists, and activists, and is the basis for her PhD thesis at Faculty of Social and Human Sciences-New University of Lisbon. César’s genre-bending film and video work bridges contemporary and historical discourses, also apparent in her writings, such as her essay “Meteorizations,” published in the Third Text special issue, and “The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions,” edited by Shela Sheik and Ros Gray. Selected exhibitions and screenings have taken place at the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010); Manifesta 8, Cartagena, Colombia (2010); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2011–15); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2012); Khiasma, Paris (2011–15); Kunstwerke, Berlin (2013); SAAVY Contemporary, Berlin (2014–15); Tensta konsthall, Stockholm (2015); Mumok, Vienna (2016); Contour Biennale 8, Mechelen, Belgium; Gasworks, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York (2017); The Harvard Art Museums, Boston (2018), and The Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2019).