Richard Pakleppa, 'Angola saudades from the one who loves you'

War-torn Angola longs for a new future

november 2005 -

The civil war in Angola tore the country in two for twenty-seven years. Three years ago peace was negotiated. For the first time since the country's independence it is united, but it has also been totally destroyed. Nevertheless, Pakleppa opens his film 'Angola saudades from the one who loves you' with an optimistic promise: "Angola longs for a new future," sings a woman in Portuguese. A politician, an ambitious rapper, and a street urchin amidst the worst possible misery all tell how beautiful and rich Angola actually is. The country has enormous natural wealth, and the people of Angola are proud and courageous. They will ensure that Angola rises above its past.


Still from 'Angola saudades from the one who loves you'

Although it is awesome to see that these people believe in the future despite everything, in the film they are clearly in the minority. Pakleppa cannot escape reality. What dominates the rest of the film is the image of sheer misery without hope. Demolished cities, torn up roads and bridges, paralysed schools. Street urchins doing drugs or snorting turpentine.

Pakleppa continues by touching on various themes, making what the film is really about unclear. He shows problems such as the highly-restricted freedom of speech, the troublesome establishment of a democracy, and the enormous gap between the poor and the rich. We take a look inside an exorbitantly luxurious shopping district in the capital Luanda. Men in expensive suits voice sales pitches in a showroom filled with shiny red sports cars. In a rich neighbourhood, Angola is suddenly a land of white mansions, swimming pools and swaying palm trees. A street urchin says: "Angola's wealth belongs to us all. But only the leaders and the wealthy profit from it."

It appears that the promise made at the beginning of the film will never come true. Once again Angola is threatened to be divided in two. The question remains of whether Pakleppa forgot what his film was about or reality has made the promise impossible to keep.

The film 'Angola saudades from the one who loves you' by Richard Pakleppa can be seen during IDFA 2005 in Amsterdam. The film was made possible in part by a contribution from the Jan Vrijman Fund.