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Angola Saudades from the One Who Loves You

This movie was a visual representation of Angola and its people. For me Angola has always seemed like a very mysterious and inaccessible place. This movie focuses on much of the poverty and corruption in the main city of Luanda. The Angolan’s in the audience were quite vocal after the film in expressing their desire to have some of the good in Angola represented as well. The film was well done but I had expected more. Very inconclusive, but I suppose that is to be expected fro a movie about a country so recently war torn.

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If you thought the Skeleton Coast was neat, just look at the shipwreaks north of Luanda. According to ‘Bjorn the Great’:

The Shipwreck beach right north of Luanda. This ship is not the only ship that has been stranded here, in fact, there are about 15 other ships. The explanation I have heard of these ships stranding here is that the ships were pulled out of the Luanda harbor to make space for new and operative ships. As time went by, the anchors could not hold these ships and they started to drift with the wind and the tides. Today they are stranded on this beach. When you arrive here, the first thing you will see is a ship called Karl Marx, named after the founder of the communist beliefs.

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Angola Saudades from the One Who Loves You is a people’s story told from the street up, one which captures a unique moment in Angola’s history, a country just coming to terms with the reality of peace after nearly three decades of bloody civil war.

Namibian director Richard Pakleppa takes the viewer on a journey across the different realities of Angola, capturing a critical juncture in Angola’s rocky path to a fragile democracy, a time in which all kinds of forces are emerging from the rubble and decay of a violent past; a time where the newly found peace also nurtures hopes and dreams; a time of rapid change as a country tries to rebuild itself out of the ashes.

Told through the eyes of carefully chosen characters from diverse backgrounds, we go on a gripping exploration through a shattered country, giving us an insight in what it means to live in an environment which has outrageous opulence derived from its abundant oil and diamond wealth, flagrantly displayed in an almost mocking fashion by the minority political and military elite, but where the man on the street must struggle to put a meal on the table for his children.

Carried by five, seemingly very different protagonists, the narrative and the voices in the film are all united by a dream of a better life and a peaceful future. These are people tired of war, but who still have a very difficult fight ahead of them.

The film provides no answers, makes no judgments, and leaves it up to the viewer to make up their own mind. It was awarded Best Documentary at its World Premier at the Three Continents Film Festival in South Africa, and was part of the official selection Silver Wolf at IDFA 2005.

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