Since the early 1960s, Mozambican film has been both a witness to and participant in the history of the nation's independence. This country, shattered by Portuguese colonialism, sought to establish a national film production model that would create the new image of the nation. Consequently, a large part of the films in the Mozambique Film Archive contain images determined by this official strategy; they aimed to convey a unifying, revolutionary ideology for the nation, to denounce imperialist threats and armed conflicts and, at the same time, to consolidate social and economic measures. This cinematographic output, which simultaneously documented and implemented a specific process, was also capable of foreseeing its construction as an archive of power. So how should the operative evidence of this archive be approached?
The mission of Off Screen is to align the narratives that relate different forms of the post-colonial condition, from the Cold War ideology, which produced a collection of revolutionary films, and the global capitalism now fighting for survival, to the situational perspective as a fragment of a personal investigation. Only through accumulation can a new topology of the image begin to take shape - that which emerges from the equilibrium created in response to the inevitable failure to reinstate a single, uncontested version of events. The aim of this project is not to present a historical account of socialist propaganda film in Mozambique. Rather, it attempts to take that initial failure and use it to evoke a new kind of socialism, the kind that can only be forged by combining different visions of reality in the same opening shot. This formula eschews conflict resolution and embraces the paradoxes summoned by memory encoded in images.
Catarina Simão (1972) lives in Lisbon. She is an architect, artist and researcher. In 2009 she began working on her current project, Off Screen: The Mozambique Film Archive. Since then, the project has been presented at art institutions and seminars in Lisbon, Porto, Maputo, Vienna, London, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Murcia.
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