Kuxa Kanema

Margarida Cardoso

Portugal 2003, 52min

Kuxa Kanema is the title of the film referring to the weekly ten-minute newsreels that were produced. It means “birth of the cinema”, which is the main focus of the story that has newsreels and other film material as amazingly strong archive material to draw on. Look at Samora when he speaks: what a charismatic figure, loved by the cameras and very conscious of what these cameras could be used for.


He beats Fidel Castro! The film invites us to look back. Film professionals who took part are the witnesses. They put the magic reels on the Steenbeck table and let them roll. It is sweet history, but we are also told right from the beginning that this is over and that it was far too short. The images become propaganda in the long and tragic war with the South Africans that followed. “We thought it was a great project and that it would last forever,” one of the film witnesses says. It did not, and look at Mozambique today! The film institute is still there, the 35mm prints lie on the shelves but the building is symbolically in ruins.

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