Though often named as such in publicity materials, Filipa César is credited not as the director of Spell Reel (2017), but as having undertaken “assemblage.” Part of the collaborative project Luta ca caba inda, films including Spell Reel and Conakry (2013) are built around archival fragments stored in the Instituto Nacional de Cinema e Audiovisual in Guinea-Bissau. They were exposed to adverse conditions before being retrieved and digitized. These images, which remain unrestored, are traces of a militant cinema praxis forged during the anti-colonial resistance to Portuguese rule. This essay situates Spell Reel and Conakry (2013) as mobile homes for these images, enabling an audience of Guineans and others to come into contact with them in a context that situates their precarity as not a matter of loss but a method of inquiry. César foregrounds the laborious processes of assembly in place of authorship, thus revealing the potential of the cinematic medium to function as an infrastructural formation.
Assemblage, Performance, Precarity: Moving through the Archive in Filipa César’s Spell Reel (2017) and Conakry (2013)
Malini Guha is an associate professor of film studies at Carleton University. Her work has been published in Canadian Journal of Film Studies, NECSUS, Screening the Past, and the Journal of British Cinema and Television. Her first monograph, From Empire to the World: Migrant London and Paris in Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), is a study of cinematic London and Paris from the perspective of migration, globalization, and the end of empire in the British and French contexts. She is a contributing editor for the online journal Mediapolis, where she writes a regular column titled “Screening Canada.”
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Malini Guha; Assemblage, Performance, Precarity: Moving through the Archive in Filipa César’s Spell Reel (2017) and Conakry (2013). Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2021; 7 (3): 82–103. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2021.7.3.82
Download citation file: