4 user 7 critic

In the Empty City (2004)

Na Cidade Vazia (original title)
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 »


Maria João Ganga

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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



Release Date:

18 January 2006 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Hollow City See more »

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Did You Know?


The first movie ever made by an Angolan woman. See more »

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User Reviews

Not a bad movie, but drags on a bit at times
31 August 2006 | by rickyr83See all my reviews

"Na Cidade Vazia" (Hollow City) effectively shows the destitution and the ruggedness of life in Luanda, Angola's capital. Our main character, N'Dala, is a wide-eyed, lost little boy in the big city, walking around with his "brinquedo" (toy) and meeting different characters. The premise isn't bad but it could be a little more interesting and better executed. At times the film just seems to drag with no purpose, rhyme or reason.

The side plot with the boy and the legend of the great Angolan warrior was a decent attempt at symbolism but it didn't pan out all the way. The ending is a bit unbelievable and off-beat as well.

The best thing about this film is that it shows the world Angola's small, but promising film industry. The country is one that has been torn apart by war and tragedy and there are plenty of stories to be told. I'm looking forward to Maria João Ganga's next film.

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