Title of the project: The trance of the real: modernism and primitivism in anti-colonial and post-colonial cinema.
Scholarship reference: SFRH/BPD/120884/2016
Start and end date: June, 2017 – June, 2023
This study aims to contribute to an analysis of anti-colonial and post-colonial cinema in the light of the relationships between modernism and primitivism. Reconstructing the primitivist affiliations of modernism in the first half of the twentieth century and moving through the “contact zones” between avant-gardes and ethnography, it focuses on the theories of image-thought as a response to the secularization of art and an affirmation of the ritual dimension of cinema. It explores the reconfiguration of the relationships between cinema and ethnography in the post-World War II period through a historical cartography. It defines the anti-colonial and post-colonial aesthetics, reflecting on the paradoxes of aestheticization and the reproduction of colonial representative and epistemic fundaments. It analyzes in detail Mozambican cinema and Ruy Guerra’s Mueda, Memória e Massacre (Mueda, Memory and Massacre) as an example of a Makonde poetics. Interdisciplinary research, it conjugates comparative aesthetics, geopolitics, and post-colonial studies. Articulating theories of cinema and ethnography, it proposes new methodological bases of formal analysis.