Nadine Siegert and António Ole Carnival Of Victory
António Ole (1977) | © António Ole
“Because Carnival is the celebration of the people, free and truthful in their delight. Like the sea before the storm, our traditions waited for their moment to arrive.” – António OleCarnaval da Vitória, directed by the celebrated Angolan filmmaker António Ole (1977), is the first of three films planned by the curators Nadine Siegert and André Cunha as a trilogy on Carnival spanning both sides of the South Atlantic. It is the only one to be completed. Sound files exist for the second film, on the Mardi Gras of New Orleans, which Ole visited. The third film was to have been based on Bahia's carnival. The pandemic intervened and the trilogy remains incomplete. But Carnaval da Vitoria, a postcolonial classic, remains as a hope of utopia to come.
“For years and years, our traditions were asleep, like the sea before the storm. Kept alive in people’s memories, sound and rhythm, movement and song awaited their time. And so it was with our Carnival. The colonisers who tried to tame it watched as it became a weapon of struggle, empowering a culture, mocking and caricaturing and exposing the exploitation that went on. So, they tried to transform it into a ready-made party, along the avenues of the coastal cities. And it failed, it failed every time.” – Narrator, Carnaval da Vitória.
Presented here is the trailer of Carnaval da Vitória and the team’s curation of rare materials from Ole's personal archives that take us behind the scene of this powerful statement on Angolan decolonisation.
Antonio Olé is one of Angola’s most eminent filmmakers and Carnaval da Vitoria is one of his most important early films, capturing the very moment of Angola’s postcolonial emergence articulated and embodied in a people’s carnival. In the following gallery we present Ole’s photos from Luanda and other sites in Angola, chosen by Siegert and Cunha. They offer a powerful testimony to that which unfolds through the film — slices of the past that gesture towards an entanglement with hope for the future. Performance becomes the embodiment of that hope, with these photographs arresting time into an elusive chiaroscuro of the present.