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A STORM WAS COMING

by Javier Fernández Vázquez

synopsis

Ësáasi Eweera, one of the last kings of the Bubi people of the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea, and a thorn in the side of the Spanish colonial powers, died in 1904 in mysterious circumstances. This unsolved case is now reopened a century later, starting with Eweera’s ascent to the throne and stretching all the way to the aftermath of his death today. Archival documents form the basis of his investigation, but not all documents are made equal and gaps are inevitable, an axiom which is also translated into visual form. Historical photos of salient locations and sections of text fade in and out to white, as do moving images of the same places today; crisp digital images rub up against fuzzy film stock. The flowery written records of the Spanish are read out by actors and set against the sober oral testimonies of the Bubi, who remain off-camera in keeping with their customs; the photos of their ancestors also never appear for more than a fleeting instant. A film as heterogeneous as the documents it draws on: a detective story, an indictment of colonialism and a study of its representation, a swansong to a waning culture, made up of countless chafing textures, like history itself.

international title: A Storm Was Coming
original title: Anunciaron tormenta
country: Spain
year: 2020
genre: documentary
directed by: Javier Fernández Vázquez
film run: 87'
screenplay: Javier Fernández Vázquez
cinematography by: Leti Maraña
film editing: Javier Fernández Vázquez
producer: Javier Fernández Vázquez
executive producer: Javier Fernández Vázquez
backing: Centro Cultural Español en Malabo (GQ), Ayuntamiento de Madrid (ES), Open-Ecam de la Escuela de Cinematografía y del Audiovisual de la Comunidad de Madrid (ES), Progressio de Cineteca (Matadero Madrid) (ES), ICA London / Frames of Representation (GB), Sundance Institute (US)
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