Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 

Udju azul di Yonta

Guinea-Bissau / Portugal, 1992, 95 min

Shown in 1993


Flora Gomes
Paulo de Sousa
Flora Gomes, David Lang, Ina Césaire
Dominique Gentil
Dominique Paris
Maysa Marta, Antonio Simao Mendes, Pedro Dias, Dina Vaz


The Blue Eyes of Yonta

As part of the Festival’s focus on contemporary African cinema comes a captivating tale from Guinea-Bissau that blends love and politics, laughter and pain. Se’, a lovelorn young man, sends an anonymous love letter to Yonta, the woman who haunts his sleepless nights, the most beautiful woman in Bissau. But Yonta has long dreamed of marrying Vicente, a handsome hero of the revolutionary war and comrade-in-arms of her now missing father. Vicente however, is too busy chasing the phantom of capitalism to chase after lovestruck young women. In spinning this cycle of unrequited love, Flora Gomes is also telling the story of his native land of Guinea-Bissau, a postcolonial culture healing from the wounds of revolution, but moving too quickly into the modern world of middle-class aspirations. This is played out against a background of economic insecurities and premonitions of a catastrophic change looming over an African landscape that resonates with the vivid colors of Dominique Gentil’s cinematography and Adriano Ferreira’s lively score. In the director’s second feature, only the third to be released from the vibrant young nation that won its independence from Portugal in 1974, Gomes paints a picture not just of the Africa that weeps, but of "the other face, the one that laughs, the one that contains hope.” However things turn out—for the lovers, for the country—it is their life to live. As Gomes put it, “There is nothing worse than living by proxy."

—Brian Burman

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