NICOLE KALI

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QUILOMBO: AFRO-NATIVE DEMOCRACY IN BRAZIL

In 1650, the Americas' largest slave-holders faced an unprecedented resistance. African slaves were rising against Brazilian elite in the hundreds and thousands.

They played revolution's drums for preparation. Quilombolas fought fiercely for the natural way of life.

Palmares was a maroon community situated in dense, mountainous forest, and Zumbi was its last military leader.

Quilombo is a film about Afro-Brazil's brave 17th-century chiefs, Ganga and Zumbi. It details capitalism's brutal origins in the New World.


Dandara (Zezé Motta), Zumbi (Antônio Pompeo) in Quilombo

Quilombos, runaway slave cities, were self-governing and self-sufficient. They did not need plutocracy to survive, they triumphed at a time all odds were against them.

Palmares is only one of the many that Brazil's slave population built to resist.

Quilombo's also not afraid to portray Black radical action against the hypocrisy of Catholic Portugal.

Like today, this account of the 500-Year-War has indigenous culture and revolutionaries on the frontlines.

Who is Zumbi? He was a Kongo noble taken from West Africa in his younger years. After being forcibly christened, Zumbi opted for escape.

He left to find Palmares and the gods from his ancestral home.

Why is this movie relevant? Quilombo's events line up with modern times. Brazil is experiencing massive uprisings again.

 The artifically imposed "utopia" of the West is fading away, so we can see the players behind current catastrophe more clearly.

Brazil's vibrant Afro-Indigenous roots show as well: a beacon for those eager to see African presence in South America.

Gilberto Gil and native musicians create a score that catches the viewer instantly. There's spiritual might in the subtle sambas, pulsing congas and tribal rhythms.

 Quilombo blends past and present very well.

Greedy environmental racism permeated the New World's political structures.

Now capitalism has enslaved individuals across the world and driven poverty to maximum polarity. It started here, and in the Caribbean.

Brazil's most fearless activists march forward from Amazonian villages, Bahia, Recife, Rio and northeastern jungles.

...where Palmares, free for almost a century, fell to colonialism in 1694.

This is a visual tale of a hero that will be reincarnated in the coming return to reality.

Nicole Kali waits for future Dandaras and Zumbis to turn revolutionary tides again.


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