Spell Reel, 2017. 96 min
Spell Reel An archive of film and audio material in Bissau. On the verge of complete ruin, the footage testifies to the birth of Guinean cinema as part of the decolonizing 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 allies, Filipa César imagines a journey wherein this fragile matter from the past operates as a visionary prism of shrapnel with which to look through. Digitized 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 their screening 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.
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 moving image. Since 2011, she has been looking into the origins of the cinema of the African Liberation Movement in Guinea Bissau as a laboratory of resistance to ruling epistemologies. César premiered her first feature length essay-film Spell Reel at the Forum section of the 67th Berlinale, 2017. Selected exhibitions and screenings have taken place at: 29th São Paulo Biennial, 2010; Manifesta 8, Cartagena, 2010; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2011–15; Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2012; Khiasma, Paris, 2011–2015; Kunstwerke, Berlin, 2013; SAAVY Contemporary, Berlin 2014–15; Tensta konsthall, Spånga, 2015; Mumok, Vienna, 2016; Contour 8 Biennial, Mechelen and Gasworks, London; MoMA, New York, 2017.