“You know, the future of this country lies in this railway’s reconstruction,’ says a local teacher as the train pulls asthmatically into Lobito. ‘It’s like an artery that has been cut. Reconnect it and the economy will flow once again, and then….well, who knows? Anything is possible.’ “ – Brendan Sainsbury
From September 14 – October 4th 2009, two members of the International Film and Performance company, CABULA6, will ride the trains of the Benguela Railway from Lobito to Kuito, following the story of the route’s rebirth during the current period of peacetime – after more than forty years of civil strife and war.
CABULA6 will travel with two tiny HD cameras and film the trip: the scenery, the railways and the people they meet – Chinese and Angolan construction workers, Railway conductors and engineers, Fellow Passengers, HALO trust de-mining workers, local and foreign businessmen and everyday people who fled during the war now returning to the land and towns around the Railroad tracks to rebuild their lives.
The trip has three main goals:
1) To make a short documentary film about the railway, it’s current rebirth and the effect the new developments have on Angola, world economies and the lives of everyday people whose existences are intertwined with the fate of the train line.
2) To serve as research for a stage performance piece to be presented in major theaters and festivals in Europe in 2010 – in Austria, Germany, Belgium and Portugal and eventually in the United States and hopefully Africa. The stage piece will deal with intricate mixed post-colonial identities and the difficulty of fashioning the surprising complexity of contemporary reality into a single coherent story. The stage piece will ask the questions, what is “African” what is “European” and what about young “Chinese” boys and girls born and raised in Angola who may in fact be “more African” than black Europeans? We are interested in the contradictions and examples of people’s complex lives and experiences which defy simple categorization as well as people’s desires to reduce their own and other people’s identities to something manageable – even if it doesn’t reflect the complex reality.
3) And finally, this trip will serve as research for a feature film script about a brother and sister born in Angola and raised in Portugal who travel together for the first time to Africa to take care of unfinished family business. It will be a road movie beginning in Lisbon and ending in the high plains of Angola in the town of Kuito. The aim is to have this script completed in 2010 in order to eventually shoot the feature film in 2011.
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