26/02/2018

Blue Eyes Of Yonta - Struggle On For Change

Quick Thoughts: Blue Eyes Of Yonta (Udju Azul di Yonta, 1992)


Made by Flora Gomes, this is the Guinea-Bissauan film of the series.


Blue Eyes Of Yonta is a film by one of the key faces of Guinea-Bissauan filmmaking: Flora Gomes. Gomes directed the second feature-length film made in Guinea-Bissau, Mortu Nega, in 1988. Blue Eyes Of Yonta is his second feature-length picture that, like many of his other films, deals with the state of post-colonial, independent Guinea-Bissau.

Whilst characterisation is this film's weak point - which makes it difficult to engage with the narrative - its strengths lie in its endeavour to represent Guinea-Bissau. Depicting a continual struggle to secure a future, both financially and socially, in numerous characters, Gomes highlights a question of change throughout this narrative. One of the most striking lines is:

"First I loaded creates from the Portuguese. I was overjoyed at Independence. I thought my life would change. But, these crates and sacks are just as heavy as Portuguese ones"

This one line encapsulates much of what Blue Eyes Of Yonta is about. Whilst independence was an important change for Guinea-Bissau, the real struggle of any revolution is not the initial revolt, but the nurturing of continual, positive change. This line does not suggest, much like the film more broadly does not, that there was no point in achieving independence. Rather, with touches of comedy and absurdism, Blue Eyes Of Yonta simply highlights the reality of a post-colonial struggle. And it is with a light touch that Gomes seems to hope for the betterment of his country and wishes the upcoming generations the best of luck and the will to focus on what matters.

Due to its thematic coherency and strong ending, I'd have to recommend this film. But, if you've seen it already, what are you thoughts?


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