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April 10, 2019
"Merê by Urânia Munzanzu - "Women in the Jeje Mahi Tradition: Black Film as Political Language in the Diaspora Africana" Screening
May 1, 2019
Based on the experiences of director Urânia Munzanzu, Merê is a women’s film that deals with Black female roles in the Jeje Mahi religious tradition of Bahia, Brazil. The film investigates the roots of the Jeje Mahi tradition throughout the Diaspora from Benin (Africa) to Brazil.
Merê presents an intimate and sensitive look at the (re)union of the "owners of the secret" of the nation of Candomble Jeje Mahi, a Black religious tradition under threat of social death. The film invites the matriarchs of the cult of Vodun in Bahia for their first encounter with Africa. Urânia Munzanzu follows routes known as Routes of Slavery, reconstructing them as paths of freedom by following these heirs of the ancestry forged in Brazil.
Screened during the 21st Annual Cine Las Americas, Merê is part of the project “A ponte entre dois mundos” (A Bridge between Two Worlds), created by the director Urânia Munzanzu in order to promote bridges for resistance. Its focus is to connect people in the African Diaspora to West Africans.
Since its release in 2017, Merê has been screened at national and international festivals and received awards in Brazil and abroad, including Best Director at Festival de Cinema Negro Adelia Sampaio 2018, and the B, Belo Horizonte, 20th International Festival of Short Movies.
About the filmmaker: Urânia Munzanzu (b. 1972, Bahia) has been making films since the 1990s. Also active as a journalist and poet, she earned her master’s degree in anthropology at the University Federal of Bahia. She has participated in international film projects in Brazil and West Africa focused on gender, race, Black women’s politics, and African spiritual heritage in Brazil. The author of numerous screenplays, she is recently dedicated to discussion of the concept of "Kitchen Cinema"—film production created by Black women filmmakers throughout the African Diaspora.
The screening will be followed by a conversation with the director.