Ghosts of the Empire is a 2020 film by Ariel de Bigault.
Synopsis: Ghosts of Empire explores the colonial imaginary in Portuguese cinema since the beginning of the 20th century. 100 years of cinema… The documentaries and fictions that support the imperialist plot are contrasted with contemporary films and perspectives. Seven Portuguese filmmakers – Fernando Matos Silva, João Botelho, Margarida Cardoso, Hugo Vieira da Silva, Ivo M. Ferreira, Manuel Faria de Almeida, Joaquim Lopes Barbosa – open the vaults of colonial cinematic memory, dialoguing with two actors, Ângelo Torres, from São Tomé, and Orlando Sérgio, from Angola. They scrutinize the real, reinvented or repressed past that still haunts memories today: the myths of discovery, imperial fiction, the factory of the colonial epic, the masks of violent domination. José Manuel Costa, director of the Cinemateca, and Maria do Carmo Piçarra, researcher, bring perspectives on the history of film production. Bringing together heterogeneous cinematographic fragments and diverse points of view, Fantasmas do Império focuses on the variations in perspectives, especially on “the other”, the “colonized” of yesteryear, yet a perennial fellow citizen and fellow countryman of our common humanity. Playing with echoes, counterpoints, contrasts between situations, images, dialogues and music, the film proposes a plot of imaginaries and attitudes, of memories and emotions. The question remains about the persistence of ghosts today in cinema, audiovisuals, culture and society.