The Vanished Dream was conceived in Guinea-Bissau, staring at an abandoned building that nobody seemed to see anymore. Even in ruins, its architecture was still bold and beautiful. “Who built this?”, “How was it possible that such a unique building in the region ended like this?»
We started research and became aware that this architecture was a symbol of the passionate years that followed the independence of Guinea-Bissau, and its current state was a metaphor of the remains of that collective dream.
The research brought us from Bissau to Lisbon, Uppsala, Amsterdam and Belgrade, to meet people who had left the country decades ago. Everybody we interviewed was eager to share and dust off their memories in front of the camera. They felt some kind of gratitude for our interest in the work they did all that time ago.
The documentary tells of two dreams that complement each other. Firstly, the personal dreams of those volunteers who went to Guinea-Bissau in the seventies. In addition to this, the political dreams of a young generation of African leaders who achieved independence.
These two perspectives are visually strengthened by the use of different visual textures, such as Super 8 mm films and archive images.
The Vanished Dream deals with the idea of memories detaching from reality. It confronts this idealised past with the harsh reality of current day Guinea-Bissau.
FILMING IN GUINEA-BISSAU
Guinea-Bissau is one of the less developed nations in Africa. The country has become notorious in the last years for its political instability. Dominated by recurrent military coups, it has led some international media to define it as “the first narco-state”. This overly simplistic picture hides the reality of a diverse society which coexists in relative peace.
It was challenging to carry out a production in such a context, characterised by extremely high and humid temperatures, a lack of basic services and an intimidating military presence. Despite these hard conditions, the experience was always rewarding because of the warm disposition of the Guinean people towards the film crew.