SUBVERSES China in Mozambique

Ella Raidel’s documentary film SUBVERSES China in Mozambique begins with images of a Chinese business man on a terrace over the roofs of Maputo, doing business on his mobile phone. He stands with his back to us, remains anonymous and faceless. He boasts about his view over the city and its beauty, talking with the pride of a colonist. This sets the tone: SUBVERSES refers constantly to two continuities, namely, Africa’s colonial inheritance, which seems to be reaching a new climax with economic involvement from the Far East. Subsidized in part by European banks, Chinese firms are building Mozambique’s infrastructure. In doing so, they do not act timidly, but entirely globalizing and capitalistic, always in accordance with the rules of profit maximization. The fact that workers have rights is just as foreign to this way of thinking as the fact that discrimination of local workers is a form of racism. A text exposing and questioning these structures, written by a member of the PR department of one of these Chinese firms, is read from off screen.
On the other hand, there are ruptures in this colonialist narrative, for example, in the form of stories of Chinese immigration, which—like historical islands—took place before the recent economic boom; but also in the form of depictions of African workers and self-presentations by African poets. We see how frustration and anger builds up in the workers, for example in an interview at a construction site or in a scene in which a worker discovers irregularities in his pay slip. Maputo’s slam poets, on the other hand, are already one step further: their sub verses are an expression of their autonomy. They are the ones who decide how they enter into the picture and what tone they take.
(Sylvia Szely)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

Orig. Title
SUBVERSES China in Mozambique
45 min
Ella Raidel
Orig. Language
Ella Raidel
Ella Raidel
Matchume Zango
Thomas Schneider, Ella Raidel
Mestre Tchaka, Raimundo, Pha Teca-Teca
Executive Producer
Ella Raidel
Supported by
Land Oberösterreich, bm:ukk
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264)
Festivals (Selection)
Rotterdam - Int. Filmfestival
Linz - Crossing Europe Film Festival
Duisburg - Duisburger Filmwoche
Wien - this human world International Human Rights Film Festival
Jihlava Documentary Film Festival