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Sambizanga is the working-class neighborhood in Luanda, Angola, that held a Portuguese prison where many Angolan militants were tortured and killed. On February 4, 1961, this prison was attacked by MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola) forces. The film begins with the arrest of revolutionary Domingos Xavier by Portuguese colonial officials, and follows Xavier’s wife, Maria, as she searches from jail to jail trying to discover what has become of her husband.
Restored as part of the African Film Heritage Project, an initiative created by the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, the FEPACI (Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers), and UNESCO—in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna—to help locate, restore, and disseminate African cinema. (Sarah Maldoror, Guadeloupe/French West Indies/Angola, 1972, Lingala and Portuguese with English subtitles, DCP, 102 minutes)
Preceded by Leon G. Demas, a short about the cofounder of L’Étudiant Noir (a journal promoting Black cultural awareness), a contributor to the literary magazine Présence Africaine, poet, Guyanese deputy, UNESCO representative, and French resistance fighter. (Sarah Maldoror, 1995, French with English subtitles, DCP, 25 minutes)