SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

History on Film: Slavery and the African Diaspora from a Global Perspective

Matthias Röhrig Assunção

Date: 9 October 2017Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 9 October 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: South block, School of Advanced Study, Senate House Room: G34

Type of Event: Film

As part of the series History on Film: Slavery and the African Diaspora from a Global Perspective this event will host the screening of the film 'BODY GAMES. CAPOEIRA AND ANCESTRY (JOGO DE CORPO. CAPOEIRA E ANCESTRALIDADE)', Directed by Richard Pakleppa, Matthias Röhrig Assunção and Cinézio Peçanha (Mestre Cobra Mansa), 87 mins., 2014. Nyaneka and Portuguese, Subtitles: Portuguese and English UK/Brazil/South Africa: On Land & Manganga Productions, 2014.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Matthias Röhrig Assunção (University of Essex).

JOGO DE CORPO/BODY GAMES tells a story driven by Mestre Cobra Mansa’s need to understand the ancestry of his art form, Capoeira, as part of a wider concern with his Afro-Brazilian heritage. By playing capoeira and engaging with Capoeira masters from Rio and Bahia, Cobra takes us into a world of Africa in Brazil. It is the world of Capoeira, where players kick, spin and dodge to songs that evoke African ancestors, the world of the enslaved and their masters and a mythical place called “Angola”.

In the real Angola Cobra Mansa follows the traces of a powerful Brazilian myth about Capoeira’s African origins. This myth links Capoeira to a legendary Angolan game called Engolo – the Zebra dance.   His search takes him and his friends to remote villages in southern Angola where Engolo players teach him “the art of bending with the wind” and tell him how some of them are being possessed by their ancestors whilst performing Engolo. They are introduced to different combat games, acrobatic dances and the trance-like music of Angolan musical bows, which all display some kind of affinity with Brazilian capoeira. Through an exchange of Capoeira and native art forms in the dusty villages of Angola, Cobra and his team begin to understand the similarities and differences between combat games played on both sides of the Atlantic.

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