Skip to content

Spell Reel

  • Directed by Filipa César
  • Portugal/France, 2017, 96 mins., French/Fulah/Portuguese/English

Amílcar Cabral, Guinea-Bissau’s liberation leader who was assassinated in 1973, left behind a major archive of film and audio work, created to further the people’s liberation from Portuguese colonialism through the revolutionary potential of cinema. When these films were unearthed in 2011, César and Guinean collaborators Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes set out to restore and then screen them throughout the country, often in hastily constructed outdoor cinemas to crowds of locals. Spell Reel charts the screening process and its potent mix of filmic and oral storytelling traditions, while noting the conditions of the material’s initial creation—resulting in a complex portrait of a nation whose cinematic legacy helped shape its liberation. In French, Fulah, Portuguese, and English with English subtitles.

First feature

Reviews: New York Times, MUBI Notebook