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The Battle of Tabatô

by João Viana

The Battle of Tabatô

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A post-colonial narrative in black and white and red. This visually fascinating film incorporates many documentary elements into its story: the references to the historical achievements and cultural traditions of the West African Mandinka; the engagement with the town of Tabatô and the country’s real life musicians; the images of the cinema, cemetery, harbour and marshlands. The old man carries relics from the war in his suitcase. The young people are tired of the frequent putsches. Both have left their mark on the country’s current reality. When the father finally fights his demons and the village musicians seek to banish them by playing on their balafons, it becomes a battle of war versus peace and past versus future.

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