Angola, like Brazil, is an endless source of inspiration. Currently one of the hotbeds for global musical innovations with genres such as kuduro, tarraxo or angolan rap, the South West African country has also a rich history of modernist architecture that is largely unknown in the Northern hemisphere.
Now German publisher Steidl verlag, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut of Angola, released the book “Angola Cinemas” by Walter Fernandes, that honors the fantastic, unique and little-known architecture of movie theaters in Angola, built in the decades before the end of Portuguese colonial rule in 1975.
Visiting the cinema was a communal act—it was a crucible where young met old, where people fell in love and where liberation from colonialism was a feasible option. Examining the architectural history of these buildings, Walter Fernandes’s photographs are documents of urban organization in the twentieth century, and of the changing mentalities of a society living within the possibility of its foreseen independence. What has changed since then, and what is the future of these urban cathedrals? Angola Cinemas poses such questions, both preserving these architectonic treasures and reflecting on their cultural, social and affective heritage.