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ALL IS WELL (2011) - Film Africa

Saturday 31 October 2015, by Coco Green

Also released under ’Alda and Maria’, the inspiration for the feature film was director Pocas Pascoal’s own life (see interview here) and the need for Angolan migrants to tell their stories. Of course, this is the reflection of a woman looking back as a migrant forced from home by war and conscription, but it tells the larger story of nationalism and identity.

The story begins with newly-arrived-to-Portugal Angolan sisters Alda and Maria exploring the new landscape and looking for friends (i.e. fellow expats they can trust), then quickly realising this is a misnomer since there are no alternatives. Despite their precarious situation, Pascoal never presents the characters as desperate; but looking for any reason to be hopeful. The film could’ve easily been titled ’How to become a survivor’.

The 6/10 rating on IMBD tells me that whoever rated it just didn’t get it. All Is Well is not just about making these invisible migrants heard, but telling a coming of age tale in the context of a changing Angola and Portugal, the hopes of a particular diasporan community in Lisbon’s suburbs and the political dreams the migrants were unable to realise in Angola. Also told through the eyes of two sisters, it moves beyond identity to the contradictory place occupied by those in a migratory transition.

Dir. Pocas Pascoal, 2011

All Is Well can be seen at Ritzy Brixton on Tuesday 3 November 2015, as part of Film Africa. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Pocas Pascoal. More info and tickets here.

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