The Sound of Masks

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The Sound of Masks

Directed by Sara de Gouveia

  • Portugal, South Africa 2018; 70 min
  • Original version: English
  • Genre: Documentary


Atanásio Nyusi, a compelling storyteller and legendary Mapiko dancer, takes us on a surreal journey interweaving the politics of Mozambique’s colonial past and its present. Using music, dance and the body as archive, we experience the ugliness of war through the beauty of dance and poetry. During Portuguese rule Mapiko was often used as social commentary to challenge colonization. The 10 year Independence War against the Portuguese stopped this dance for a few years. Mapiko has however seen a revival since the end of the civil war that followed the country’s Independence. Nowadays, it celebrates freedom, cultural identity and collective memory. As Atanásio himself says, «the dance is linked to the domination, and so history, war and culture are all linked. They are inseparable». Through his work, Atanásio has had an important role in promoting Mapiko as a contemporary art form. As an artist but also as a memory keeper, he now faces the challenge to transmit his knowledge to his son Natepo. Blending observational footage, archive material and contemporary dance sequences, the film crosses the threshold between real and imaginary. These two parallel story-worlds are interwoven creating a visual narrative linking past and present in a radically shifting country.



    Bruno Mano