Spell Reel

2017 | 01:36:00 | Germany / Guinea-Bissau | B&W and Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: New Releases, Single Titles

Tags: Feature Length, Found Footage, History, Mixed media, Post-colonialism

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Spell Reel is an archive of film and audio material from Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. On the verge of complete ruin, the footage testifies to the birth of Guinean cinema as part of the decolonising vision of Amílcar Cabral, the liberation leader who was assassinated in 1973. In collaboration with the Guinean filmmakers Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes, as well as many others, Filipa César imagines a journey where this fragile matter from the past operates as a visionary prism of shrapnel with which to look through. Digitised in Berlin and screened at various locations — in what would come to resemble a transnational itinerant cinema — the archive convokes debates, storytelling and forecasts. From screenings in isolated villages in Guinea-Bissau to European capitals, the silent reels are now a place from which people may search for antidotes to a world in crisis.

"Spell Reel celebrates education, in the form of the mobile cinema tour, as avant-garde work, and César’s ambition and finesse in recovering a fragile artistic and social history proves she is an inheritor to the tradition explored in her film: art that furthers intellectual and political ideals for all."

— Sophie Cavoulacos, Assistant Curator, Department of Film, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017