7.1/10
188
4 user 7 critic

Na Cidade Vazia (2004)

A group of children, fleeing the war, is taken to Luanda accompanied by a nun. When they reach the aeroplane, 12-year-old N'Dala decides to leave the group and to reconnoitre the city. The ... See full summary »

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
João Roldan ...
N'dala (as Roldan Pinto Joäo)
Domingos Fernandes Fonseca ...
Zè (Nganga)
Júlia Botelho ...
Rosita
Ana Bustorff ...
Religiosa
Raúl Rosário ...
Joka
Custodio Francisco ...
Pescador
Carlão Machado ...
Nandão
Pulquéria Bastos ...
Professora
Edson K. de Almeida ...
Nosa Luta
Lisandra Pita ...
Socorrista
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Enoque Caracol
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Storyline

A group of children, fleeing the war, is taken to Luanda accompanied by a nun. When they reach the aeroplane, 12-year-old N'Dala decides to leave the group and to reconnoitre the city. The nun then starts her unceasing quest for the missing boy. N'Dala, only carrying a textile bag and a doll made of wire, walks through the busy streets filled with people and traffic. Later he finds the tranquility of the island off the coast, where he meets the old fisherman Antonio, with whom he becomes friends. Not much later, he meets the lively, whimsical Zé, who is a little older than he is. N'Dala starts to experience the city and its inhabitants as increasingly forbidding and he would most like to return to the countryside from whence he came. Then he meets Joka, a fringe figure who persuades him to help with a robbery in exchange for money. With this film, Maria Joao Ganga wanted to provide a realistic sketch of the bitter political situation in Angola. One of her most important motivations ... Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

18 January 2006 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hollow City  »

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Trivia

Only the second movie to be made in Angola since the end of the civil war in 1991. See more »

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User Reviews

 
simply superb
10 February 2013 | by See all my reviews

I watch some African cinema (my girlfriend is Angolan) and I lived in Portugal, so I have some insight into the culture of Luanda. For me this was really a fantastic piece of work: beautifully produced, subtle but not artsy. It painted a picture of Luanda (in the past) without exaggeration and didn't delve into any 'ah, poor Africans' type stupidity. It was a simple tale of a 12 year old boy escaping the war torn countryside to Luanda and the friendships he has with people, and how he gently influences their lives. Another critic said that the parallel with the story of a warrior (mentioned in the film) was not complete, but really, it would have been a cheesy Hollywood movie if it had been. Also, the ending may not give a sense of finality, but that was part of the beautiful message of the film. It is extremely well crafted, with simple scenes of the fisherman smiling at the boy, or his friend washing his godmothers clothes, that lights up this film with such richness. Even the subtle cultural aspects, like the Kizomba dancing in the evening, and just their way of being, is so natural.

This is the best African film I have seen, and probably within the top 8 films I have seen in my life.


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