Atanásio Nyusi, a compelling storyteller and legendary Mapiko dancer, takes us on a visually dramatic journey through Mozambique’s past and present.
The Sound of Masks, directed and produced by DocfilmSA member Sara Gouveia, is a beautifully moving ode to the cultures of Mozambique told primarily through dance and music. The film is based on the story of a Mozambican dancer and storyteller, Atanásio Nyusi, who takes us on a journey into the world of Mapiko, a traditional masked dance.
This mysterious dance, once used as social commentary to challenge colonization, is the heart and soul of Makonde culture: a way of celebrating freedom and cultural identity through movement, music and sound. The film is as much a post-colonial journey through memory and heritage as it is a time race against the progressive erosion of traditional cultural references.
After its World Premiere at IDFA in November 2018, the film had its African Premiere at the Marrakech International Film Festival 2018 and has been selected to have its North American Premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, taking place from April 25th – May 5th 2019. North America’s largest documentary festival, Hot Docs offers an outstanding selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences of more than 200,000. The film will screen as part of the Artscapes program that is showcase for the arts, creativity, music and pop culture.
Blending observational footage, archive material and contemporary dance sequences, The Sound of Masks crosses the threshold between real and imaginary. These two parallel story-worlds are interwoven creating a visual narrative linking past and present in a radically shifting country.
The Sound of Masks is a work of art in-itself, a visually stirring and emotionally compelling journey into the story of a man, as well as the story of his country. The Director, Sara Gouveia has this to say of the making of the film, “The main intention behind this film is to share this story, as told by Atanásio, as an impression of a place at a particular period in time. I hope that through the sharing of this story, the film can live up to Atanásio’s deep belief in the healing power of storytelling.”
The film is the debut feature length documentary from young filmmaker, Sara CF Gouveia. Her medium-length documentary Mama Goema: The Cape Town Beat In Five Movements (55 min., 2011) won the award for Best SA Documentary at the TriContinental Film Festival 2011, screened at festivals worldwide and was broadcast on SABC. P
The Sound of Masks is produced by South African Lionfish Productions in co-production with Portuguese Ukbar Filmes. Lionfish Productions is a boutique production company specializing in short and long format documentaries, music videos and commercials. Lionfish has produced campaigns and short films for Amnesty International, Steps for the Future, Regency Global Foundation and SWHAP amongst others.