Festa de Quintal – Angolan Home Theatre

Directed by Coréon Dú | Review by Nabadipa Talukder

All cultures are different in their own way. Some are uniquely peaceful, while others are not. Some don’t show their social side and some do. But what is common among all of them is the desire to keep the values of their community alive. They are celebrated in order to get relief during the times of exhaustion and conflicts. Festivals are usually celebrations that mark a particular time of our lives when people from a community come together to celebrate a common cause. But “Festa de Quintal” or Backyard parties are the celebrations of happiness and life, unique to the people of Angola, who are a Southern African nation.
 

 
In this documentary, shot by Coréon Dú, we see a personal perspective of this festival from a different point of view. It includes the participants’ nostalgia, their perseverance to continue the tradition of these parties, keeping alive the cultural integrity through genuine performances, dances, drinking and eating. What I found extremely intriguing is the amount of personal engagement these parties offer. No wonder there is a stupendous amount of nostalgia attached to these events.

While watching this film, I began wondering how simple these people are and how generously they contribute to these parties with no bias at all. These events are celebrated amongst people from all strata of their society. Be it artists, dancers, musicians, politicians – you will find them all on one platform. “The Quintal” brings everyone together and they all become performers.

All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players; these parties are a classic example of the Shakespeare’s quote. These parties are full of childhood memories of the participating Angolans. They are the packed with powerhouse performance where music plays a vital role. This film is a cultural brochure for the Angolans and for the rest of the world. It also heightens the role of “protagonism” in every culture but not in a dismissive way. It is actually considered to play an important role in shaping the social presence of an individual. This theory has also been reinforced by a study called “bangology”, which is the study of style. People dress well to stand out in the society.
 
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Various dance instructors and scholars have studied these cultural practices for years and what they have deduced is the intricacy of this art. The performers know that no matter where they come from they will be valued for their talents. These dances portray the nature of Angolan people. Although their urge to stand out in the crowd becomes a necessity, coming together in a circle and finishing off the dance is also a common practice, redefining unity in a cultural family.

With social values soaring, the Angolans have made a niche for themselves individually and globally. They organize these parties every week, causing higher social interactions between these folks. It is full of life, sweat, and euphoria and you can experience all of this while watching the film. Every individual is important to these parties and everyone’s contribution is very personal.

In our everyday world where we are being divided each moment into different strata whether through religions or socio-economically, the Angolans have found a way to end this discrimination. The bourgeoisie and the proletariat – everyone joins hands and creates a fiesta in these famous Backyard parties.

There is a lot to learn and be inspired by throughout this film. The main essence of life is weaved through music and nothing can be better than this. The amount of creativity and zeal that life asks of us should not go unnoticed. After watching this film, if there is one thing I am going to do, it is to follow up more on the Angolan culture and learn about the various dance forms they have created through this extravaganza. It also showcases the various customs that have evolved through this practice. It is a must watch for those who are interested in cultural studies.

 

Dr. Nabadipa Talukder is a doctor by profession with a passion for creative writing and has been into digital content writing for almost 5 years now. She practiced as a dental professional for two years in Kolkata before she quit her job in order to pursue a career in writing. Nabadipa was exposed to the freedom to write for various fronts which opened up her mind and introduced her to the world of screenplay and script writing. She wishes to travel and understand various cultures and wishes to write their stories.