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The Global South Atlantic$
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Kerry Bystrom and Joseph R. Slaughter

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823277872

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823277872.001.0001

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Postwar Politics in O Herói and Kangamba

Postwar Politics in O Herói and Kangamba

(p.207) Postwar Politics in O Herói and Kangamba
The Global South Atlantic

Lanie Millar

Fordham University Press

The two films O herói [The Hero] (Angola, 2005) and Kangamba (Cuba, 2008) examine the inheritances reconsider the inheritances of Angola’s post-colonial history and Cuba’s most involved internationalist project in Angola from very different perspectives. This article proposes an analysis of how each of the two films cites the revolutionary impulse of the early war years in the context of the post-Cold War confrontation with the global circulation of cultural and economic capital. The popular war epic Kangamba, an example of what historian Rafael Rojas identifies as a post-Cold War restorative impulse that remembers the early years of Cuban revolutionary orthodoxy as stable and purposeful, strikes a discordant contrast with other more critical accounts of the war, which O herói represents through the story of an Angolan ex-soldier, a former prostitute and a presumed orphan struggling to re-integrate into civilian society. Considering the two films together will expose Kangamba’s performance of a defiant gesture toward a contemporary cultural climate increasingly divided in its collective memories of the war while O herói’s engagement with the post-war aesthetics of disillusionment presents effects of war on the human landscape unacknowledged in Kangamba’s nostalgic look back to the height of revolutionary utopian idealism, and suggests that the damage done to the national Angolan fractures and distances it from notions of national or global solidarity.

Keywords:   Angola, Angolan civil war, cinema, Cuba, post-war culture, revolution, solidarity politics

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