3 kids

SHORT PROGRAM SUMMARY

Letters from Angola is a voyage into a forgotten past where several stories intersect – that of Angolan-born filmmaker Dulce Fernandes and those of the Cubans who fought in the Angolan war. A journey through today's Cuba, the film uncovers the lost connection to a land left behind and it's a poetic reflection on the fragile place of the individual in the midst of the tectonic movements of History.


MEDIUM PROGRAM SUMMARY

From 1975 to 1990, almost half a million Cubans participated in military missions in Angola, in what was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Cold War. During those fifteen years, Cuban men and women, young and old, crossed the Atlantic to fight for a land they knew nothing about.

During that time, the Cuban soldiers captured the pathos and intensity of the conflict in the letters they sent home. Following the yarns of their correspondence, Letters from Angola is a poetic look at these anonymous stories and a personal journey of intimate discoveries by Angolan-born filmmaker Dulce Fernandes. Unearthing the memory threads of six Cuban men and women, the film, told in the first person, is a voyage through today's Cuba, revealing forgotten recollections, fading pictures and yellowing letters. In a journey across the Caribbean island, the film explores their lost connection to Angola, how the war forever changed their lives and, ultimately, what they have found out about themselves along the way.

A portrait of the yearning for a land left behind, Letters from Angola is a delicate discovery of what we can learn about ourselves when looking at others and a reflection on the fragile place of the individual in the midst of the tectonic movements of History.


FULL PROGRAM SUMMARY

Angola was since the late 1500's a central piece in the Portuguese overseas enterprise of slavery and colonialism that lasted half a millennium. In 1974, the Carnation Revolution in Portugal brought down the dictatorship and, at last, the colonial empire. All of the Portuguese colonies in Africa were granted independence, including Angola. These events prompted a massive exodus of Portuguese settlers in Africa, creating over half a million destitute refugees.

Free at last from its colonial ruler, the young African nation was however rapidly enveloped in Cold War politics and in an intense military escalation. With vast oil and mineral reserves, Angola became one of the bloodiest battlegrounds of the Cold War. On one side, the MPLA (the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola, one of the country's nationalist movements, of marxist ideology) fought to control the country's territory with the support of the Soviet Union and Cuba. On the other side, UNITA (the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, another nationalist movement) waged a guerrilla war backed by Apartheid South Africa and the United States.

From 1975 to 1990, almost half a million Cubans participated in military missions in Angola and the conflict shaped an entire generation. During those fifteen years, Cuban men and women, young and old, crossed the Atlantic to fight for a land they knew nothing about.

During that time, the Cuban soldiers captured the pathos and intensity of the conflict in the letters they sent home. Following the yarns of their correspondence, Letters from Angola is a poetic look at these anonymous stories and a personal journey of intimate discoveries by Angolan-born filmmaker Dulce Fernandes. Unearthing the memory threads of six Cuban men and women, the film, told in the first person, is a voyage through today's Cuba, revealing forgotten recollections, fading pictures and yellowing letters. In a journey across the Caribbean island, the film explores their lost connection to Angola, how the war forever changed their lives and, ultimately, what they have found out about themselves along the way.

A portrait of the yearning for a land left behind, Letters from Angola is a delicate discovery of what we can learn about ourselves when looking at others and a reflection on the fragile place of the individual in the midst of the tectonic movements of History.