The Grande Hotel in Beira, Mozambique’s second-largest city was built in the 1950s. With its 370 rooms it was called the “pride of Africa” but closed after a few years and was squatted since the 1980s. Today, it is home to nearly 3000 people.
We came with a huge collection of masks: Venetian carnival disguises, horror masks, wigs and comic figures. The Grande’s inhabitants appropriated these disguises in their rituals, dances and everyday life. The resulting play winds through the hotel’s crumbling corridors and Mozambique’s multiple histories.
Another past of Mozambique is the Kuxa Kanema. Kuxa means ‘birth’ and Kanema ‘image’. After independence in 1975, Samora Machel––the first president––placed his hopes in images to spread the Marxist idea. Trucks drove to the village projecting the films at night. A group of directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Rouch, Ruy Guerra, and Shin Jun-chul, was invited to build a film industry. Godard’s TV project was called: ‘The Birth (of the Image) of a Nation.’ The rusty film cans of the Kuxa Kanema remain in an abandoned film institute in Maputo. When we filmed there we had to wear another kind of masks to protect ourselves from the dangerous fumes, to protect ourselves from history.
Later we took our ritualized masks to Rishikesh on the foothills of the Himalayas. In an act of redemption, or rebirth. We released the spirits we have called. Returned them back to the cycle, just as nature takes back the ruins of the Grande Hotel.
A film by Christopher Roth
in collaboration with Franz von Stauffenberg
In Africa with:
Ana, Neco, Pedro Pimente, Alex Eduardo, Chundinha, Minosa Paula, China Manuela, Tres Bernardo, Bernardo Paiva, Zeca Augusto, Arlindo Culiale, Ana da Gloria, Jaime Rodrigues, Carlos Carlos Ray, Augusto Santo, Daviz Simango, Ungalani Ba Ka Khosa,Mario Domingos, Beatriz Rosa Paulo, Jalina Ordem, Alex Eduardo, and Shin Jun-chul
In India with:
Pheline Roggan, Michael Althen, Arno Brandlhuber, Anne Tismer, Bhupendra Nautiyal, Vinod, Chauhan, Akshay Uniyal, Arvind Thapliyal, Narendra Negi, Ramesh Yadav, Shankar, Ram Lal, Chaman Das, Deep Das, Jamna Lal, Vinod Bijlwan, Amit, Ganesh, Riya, Vaisali, Yamini Nautiyal seenu, Sarthak Nautiyal chintoo, Shalini Nautiyal, Mohit Kudiyal, Ayush Barthwal, Baba Ji, and Dr. Ram Garg and Huan Zuo in São Paulo
English Voices – Lavinia Wilson, Christopher Petit, Matthew Coppa, Eric Mitchell, Simon Srebrny, Arfus Greenwood, and Azul Cabellos
Deutsche Stimmen -Inga Humpe, Dirk von Lotzow, Moritz von Uslar, Georg Diez, Traudel Haas, Jeanne Tremsal, Stefan Gabanyí und Julia Hummer
Voix françaises – Jeanne Tremsal, Roman Moriceau, Stefan Gabanyí, Benoît Tremsal, Christophe Wiesner et Maryam Zaree
Vozes portuguêses – Rita Przygodda, João da Costa Pinto, Andre Bendocchi-Alves, Joana Barrios, Sérgio Clemente Taero e Anna-Theresa Przygodda
Translations: Iara Simonetti, Andre Bendocchi-Alves, Thérèse Flohr, Jeanne Tremsal, Carine Moulun, and Christophe Wiesner
Organization in Beira: Fidelina Cumbe and Christopher Murphy
Organization in Rishikesh: Dharmendra Nautiyal and KatinkaDeecke
Production in Germany: 72Film, Moritz von der Groeben
Post Production: Arri Berlin / Das Kombinat, Frieda Oberlin and Lola Knoblauch
Color Grading: Nico Hauter
Sound Finish: 40º Film, Claudia Enzmann and Andre Bendocchi-Alves
Sound Mix: Andre Bendocchi-Alves
Original Music Score: Timo Blunck and Marco Dreckkötter
Editor: Christopher Roth
with Music by: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Francis Baloye & Shangaan Band, Giuseppe Verdi, Terranova and the Zoutpansberg Brothers –– BLUWI Edition, Partners in Rhyme, The Secret Music of Mankind, Kompakt, Edition Incontro
Historical Footage: ICBA Maputo and Kuxa Kanema, Selous Scout, Native Recruiting , Pedro & Anna: Tempos dos Leopardos , HMV: Jean-Luc Godard, Histoire(s) du Cinéma 1(a)’ and an installation by RothStauffenberg in New York –– Last recording: Notes sur l’insurrection qui vient Achille Mbembe, November 2012 at HKW Berlin. Mozartbique started as an art project by RothStauffenberg
Many Thanks to Achille Mbembe, Sarah Nuttall, Emma Mathews, (the Secretario) João Gonçalves, Georg Diez, Sarita Arya, Martin Rauhaus, José Paulo, Arlindo Zeofero Buliale, Bea Schnippenkötter, Michael Althen, Wolf Bosse, Carsitos, Peter Anders, Fetisch, Peter Przygodda, Isa Melsheimer, Katharina von Ruckteschell-Katte, Daniel Saltzwedel, Stella Rankin, Tabea Behnisch, KoordinierungsKreis Mosambik, the Goethe Institut Johannesburg and the Goethe Institut New Delhi Max Mueller Bhavan, Kulturstiftung des Bundes, and Lorenz von Seidlein
Funded by Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg