“Territorio” (2016), Alexandra Cuesta. 

From anti-colonial cinema to decolonial film practices: poetics, politics, epistemologies

Raquel Schefer

NOVEMBER 21ST . 2023, 2.PM

Starting from my doctoral thesis, in which, taking Mozambican revolutionary cinema as the central object of study, I examined the formal evolution of militant and engaged cinema – the forms of the political and the politics of forms -, This session aims to analyse anti-colonial, post-colonial and decolonial cinemas from a comparative and transhistorical perspective. Firstly, I will look at Mozambican revolutionary cinema, which emerges as a “pre-cinema” in the context of the anti-colonial liberation struggle. Within the framework of the transnational liberation culture of the 1960s and 1970s, political and economic decolonisation is understood as inseparable from the decolonisation of culture, knowledge and forms of representation, including cinematographic ones.
In a second step, I will address the destructuring of history, memory and anti-colonial cinematic forms by post-colonial cinemas, drawing on the concepts of “third form” by Roland Barthes and “third space” by Homi K. Bhabha. Finally, using examples from contemporary Latin American cinema, in particular autochthonous cinemas, I will examine a set of decolonial methodological procedures that seek to epistemologically detach aesthetics from the paradigm of colonialism, which is inseparable from modernity.

Raquel Schefer is a researcher, director, programmer and Associate Professor at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University. She has a PhD in Film and Audiovisual Studies from the Sorbonne Nouvelle University, a Master’s degree in Documentary Film from the Universidad del Cine de Buenos Aires and a degree in Communication Sciences from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She has published El Autorretrato en el Documental, as well as several book chapters and articles. She has been an Assistant Professor at Grenoble Alpes University, a lecturer at the Universities of Paris Est – Marne-la-Vallée, Rennes 2, the Universidad del Cine de Buenos Aires, the Universidad de la Comunicación in Mexico City and Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, as well as a guest researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. She was an FCT postdoctoral fellow at the CEC/University of Lisbon, the IHC/Universidade Nova de Lisboa and the University of the Western Cape. She is co-editor of the journal of film theory and history La Furia Umana and programme advisor to the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IDFA).