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Hollow City (2004)
"Na Cidade Vazia" (original title)

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


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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Plot Keywords:

nun | fisherman | angola | toy | street kid | See All (18) »








Release Date:

18 January 2006 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hollow City  »

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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

Fine, unusual feature from a largely-ignored African country
20 October 2004 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

This film caught my attention at the recent Rio Film Festival just because it came from Angola, a country rarely seen in the movies. After the civil war ended, and news subsided about the terrible land mine situation in the country (both themes addressed in the film), this large oil-rich, and relatively Westernized African country seemed to disappear from the scene. In cinema, only some Angolan characters are frequent in Portuguese films. But we never see the country itself, except on TV here in Brazil due to extensive cultural, linguistic, and increasingly economic ties.

All that said, the film presents a poignant story about a boy molded by the civil war in his country. As he journey's through Luanda, the capital of Angola, we discover a city and people who are not very different from those in a similar-sized Latin American city. We find a very Westernized society, much more so than the native African ones in Johannesburg or Cape Town. People only speak Portuguese amongst themselves exclusively (no native tribal tongues), and their habits and values are as globalized as anywhere else - definitely much more than in the rest of Africa. The buildings, layout of the city, apartments, homes and lifestyle of several socio-economic classes seem more like the Eastern Europe we see in art films than Africa. At least in Luanda and in the large cities of Angola.

Through the different characters and locations in the country's capital, the director gives us excellent insight to life in Angola's capital. Yes, from her point of view, but I understand she's held in great respect there, and known for fair portrayals of her country. For that alone, the film is an unusual treat and definitely worth seeing.

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