The year is 1961. Angola is ensnared in the claws of the fascist Portuguese colonial government. Domingos is a young man who works as a tractor driver. He is well loved by his friends, and his wife and newborn baby. He is also secretly a member of the MPLA, the group fighting to free Angola from its colonial overlords. One day he is arrested and beaten by the police. Devastated his wife sets out to Luanda in search of him. A parallel story involves the investigation on the part of the MPLA into Domingos' arrest. This is passionate, political filmmaking at its best. Sambizanga is both a heart-wrenching and joyous cry for freedom. It sizzles with creative energy. There is a raw, almost documentary-like feel to Sarah Maldoror's direction, and the film is just as much worth watching for this look into the everyday life of ordinary Angolans. But what is also interesting is the different actors in the anti-colonial struggle Maldoror focuses on such as the apolitical wife, the Portuguese sympathizer, and the elderly. It is a refreshing break from political films that only focus on screaming AK47 wielding men. Ultimately, though, this is a film that is of more historical importance than artistic. The story exists to serve the message, and the characters are ultimately archetypes, albeit more complex ones. The problem with this type of overtly political cinema is that it more or less is a product of its era. And it keeps the viewer at bay. However, the message of freedom and self-determination is a universal one that always has the power to invoke goosebumps.
hi im a film production student and i just recently cam across this film as i was reading a film history book, i've never watched it but i'd love to just because i'm from Angola but because i was truly inspired and Motivated by Sarah.M- can anyone tell me where i can find it??
The film beautifully communicated injustice as well as the resilience of the colonized that is further strengthened by the fact that Maldoror sheds her view as a woman. The fact that the film gives equal focus on the wife of the political prisoner as well as mixed races being given preference highlight two key aspects all often too forgotten in colonialism narratives that helps makes the film complex and profound.
I thank Yuki for the opportunity to see this most important episode in the annals of political action, and the history of world film. Sarah Maldoror completed a great breakthrough in cinema by exposing a single, non-political woman and mother, caught in the oppressive tumult within the early days of Angola's war for independence. Not merely a worthy and unique subject, but a great directorial creation.
I have just seen this amazing film. What a landmark in African cinema. This was the first film from Africa directed by a woman, and is very much the equal any film made by her more illustrious colleagues such as Sembene, Cisse or Mambety. This film represents the real spirit of "third cinema", a new world voice exposing the disparity between the rich and poor and the byproduct of violence and terror. Superb!!