Brent Meistre | 2019 | 12min 50s
‘The Bell’ is the reflective story of the education of an Angolan academic. The viewer engages with critical incidents in her life, from a young girl leaving for Cuba through to her returning engagements and identity negotiations as a refugee and a leader, as she questions the worth of her life, knowledge, and its purpose from her current perspective in senior management. Carefully selected excerpts from the transcript of her story intersperse the filmed seascapes, interiors and soundscapes of a nondescript European ferry voyage. As the academic sings a song from her childhood about combat, courage and sacrifice for the future emancipation of her homeland, the film ends with the dedication ‘for the young revolutionaries’.
This artwork was made collaboratively with an academic who has negotiated much of Angola’s changes during her life. After the rupture of colonial ties and privileges with Portugal, tens of thousands of Angolan children were offered primary, secondary and tertiary educational opportunities in Cuba. They later returned with a vision of contributing to Angolan socio-economic development - a process of exchange that is in operation till this day. As with many others of her generation, in her life history narrative this academic recounted conflicts in identity and expectations having been formally educated in Angola, Cuba and the United Kingdom.