|L-R: Director Guenny Pires and BSU attendees Magaly Ponce,|
Angelo Barbosa, and James Hayes-Bohanan.
One week ago today, I had the privilege of watching the 2010 film Contract Docudrama in the company of its director Guenny Pires and a room filled with scholars and students of Cabo Verde and and the places to which it is most closely connected. The event was sponsored in part by the Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies at BSU, in conjunction with a similar center at UMass-Dartmouth, where the event was held.
I look forward to bringing the film to BSU along with more recent work from this thoughtful director. Meanwhile, the eight-minute trailer on IMDb is a thorough summary that includes spoilers. If you might have a chance to watch the film soon, you might prefer the three-minute trailer on YouTube, which does not include the spoilers.
When studying kriolu (Cape Verdean creole) last year, I learned something of the story behind the famous ballad Sodade, made famous by Cesaria Evora. I highly recommend listening to the song in the live Paris version, which has recently been made available with English/kriolu subtitles. In the live version, notice where the "Barefoot Diva" stands. Her contracts stipulated that she would stand on Cape Verdean soil, no matter where in the world she performed.
I thought of this song throughout the Contract film, and near the end I heard someone whisper, "now I understand that song" and i knew exactly what she meant. Stories of migration and loss run deep in Cabo Verde, and they run to many corners of the world.
In addition to São Tomé, many migrant stories also include Angola, which is why a popular Cape Verdean restaurant in Brockton, Massachusetts is called Luanda. The story of Angolan musician and sprinter (yes, he is both) Bonga Kueda is an engaging introduction to the contemporary realities of Angola.