Series Description

 
Filipa César
TRT 26:48 | 2007—2012 | 4:3 & 16:9

Cacheu
Video Details
Filipa César | 2012 | 10:08 | Germany/Guinea-Bissau | English | Color | 16:9

A masterfully recorded performative lecture on a piece of Guinea-Bissau's colonial history.

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Cacheu
Video Details
Filipa César | 2012 | 10:08 | Germany/Guinea-Bissau | English | Color | 16:9

A masterfully recorded performative lecture on a piece of Guinea-Bissau's colonial history.

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Rapport
Video Details
Filipa César | 2007 | 16:40 | Germany | German | Color | 4:3

A meditative look at participants of an NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) seminar in Berlin.

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Spanning from the early 2000s to the present, Filipa César has studied human interaction, culture, politics, and oppression through observational documentary and video essay. 

In Cacheu (2012), César depicts a lecture on the colonial history of Guinea-Bissau in a single shot. The lecture focuses on four statues at the Fortress of Cacheu, a centuries-old military fortress originally built to establish the Portuguese slave trade in Guinea-Bissau in 1588. The statues, now decrepit and in a state of disrepair, create a metaphor both for the strength of the people of Guinea-Bissau, and the sense of trauma that lingers in postcolonial nations. 

Examining trauma in a much different sense, Rapport (2007) follows participants through an NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) seminar in Berlin. Seeking self-acceptance and personal development, the group undergoes a series of guided meditations and exercises to broaden their sense of selves. César skillfully guides the viewer through this seminar in a similarly meditative manner, dissecting the ways in which people present themselves to each other in this intimate — yet somehow cold — setting. 

Although these two works deal in vastly different subject matter, they both describe César's near scientific style of moving image making, and her critical interest in human nature.

"Kinaesthetically shifting in space and time, César’s videos present a canted viewpoint on European colonialism, and refocus our gaze on decolonial liberation struggles. César's experimental films focus on Portugal’s geopolitical histories and the production of knowledge through embodied and layered performances." 

— Zoë Heyn-Jones, Vertical Features, 2016

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Still from Porto 1975 by Filipa César

About Filipa César: 

Filipa César is an artist and filmmaker interested in the fictional aspects of the documentary, the porous borders between cinema and its reception, and the politics and poetics inherent to the moving image and 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 to ruling epistemologies. 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 FCSH-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, The Wretched Earth: Botanical Conflicts and Artistic Interventions, edited by Shela Sheik and Ros Gray.

Featured titles

Filipa César, Cacheu

Cacheu is a 10-minute shot of a lecture, performed by Joana Barrios, revolving around four colonial statues, which are stored today at the Fortress of Cacheu, one of the first bastions constructed by the Portuguese in 1588 in order to facilitate slave trade in the West African country of Guinea Bissau. Barrios evokes symbolic conflicts by tracing back different contexts in which the statues make an appearance: on a pedestal during Portuguese colonialism, dethroned and broken in pieces after Independence in the film Sans Soleil by Chris Marker, as background ghosts in Mortu Nega by Flora Gomes, and finally displayed at the Cacheu fort. The montage is a process that takes place before shooting, so that the image production is a result of a performative assemblage between text, acting, projected image and the framing of the camera by the director of photography, Matthias Biber.

Rapport, Filipa César

Shot during an NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) seminar in Berlin, a group fluxuates between guided meditation and discussion on consciousness and self-acceptance. Neuro-linguistic programming is a set of techniques and beliefs that are used primarily towards personal development. NLP is based on the idea that mind, body, and language create an individual's perception of the world, and an individuals behaviors can be changed by "perceiving and feeling yourself". Rapport focuses on the staging of the self that takes place during this kind of group therapy.

Resources

Reactivating the Lost Revolutionary Films of Guinea-Bissau, Ela Bittencourt, Hyperallergic, June 2016

“The soil was the blackboard of the guerilla…”, Gauthier Lesturgie, contemporaryand, October 2014