Por Ana Partearroyo / email@example.com
Another Day of Life is an animate documentary film that narrates the life experiences of a polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuściński, when he travelled to Angola in 1974, few days before its independence. The film is a co-production between Poland, Spain, Germany and Belgium and it is made by Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow. The film was made being very faithful to the auto biography written by Kapuściński in 1979 with the title Another Day of Life. The film won the Goya for best documentary film in February 2019 together with other international prices. Additionally, Kapuściński won in 2003 the price, “Príncipe de Asturias de Comunicación y Humanidades”, for giving voice always to the most disadvantaged.
Another Day of Life narrates three intense months in the life Ryszard Kapuściński; our journalist arrived in Angola by the time the Portuguese settlers were leaving, and when the country, as he describes it on the film, was subjected to a total chaos. Kapuściński saw in three months how the independence led to a bloody Civil War, and how Angola became the new blackboard of the Cold War at the moment other powers entered the conflict. The film captures very well, how at the moment South Africa entered in the Angolan territory followed by Cuban´s intervention (Operación Carlota), the Angolan conflict stopped being a local and a civil matter.
From my point of view, one negative aspect of the film is the lack of historical context. I feel that in order to understand the Angolan conflict as a whole, is important to know about the Salazar regime, the Carnation Revolution, and about what kind of colonies were the Portuguese ones. Salazar regime was known for being the most pacific and civilized of all four regimes associated to fascism. The model of nation he wanted to create was a multicultural and fraternal Portugal, so in 1951, the African colonies became known as the overseas provinces.  Nevertheless, in Angola there was a classic colonial regime, citizenship was restricted to the whites, and the economy was based in the exportation of natural resources and force labor. Salazar tried to modernized the economy of Portugal and its colonies, but this was not accompanied by a socio-political change, so the birth of new free states in Africa, constituted a total threat to the Portuguese colonies.  The 1970´s were the grave of the Portuguese regime; the Carnation Revolution happened the 25th of April of 1974, when militaries along with the civil population took the streets and overthrow Salazar successor, Marcelo Caetano. The revolution was totally related to the situation in the colonies and between 1974 and 1976 all the Portuguese colonies became independent. In the movie I missed an explanation of why independence in Angola hit different in comparison with other African colonies. Problems for Angola started when the different independent movements the MPLA, the FNLA and UNITA, were not able to leave aside its own political aspirations and differences to create a peaceful and strong nation. The MPLA was a national movement that believe in a socialist Angola and the FNLA (in the Northeast) and UNITA (in the East) were more regional and ethnic groups that had local objectives. I believe that is important to understand the difference between the groups, firstly because in the movie are continuously mentioned and secondly because are a good example to see how the conflict started being a civil matter. Apart of the lack of historical context, other negative aspect I found was the mixture of styles; the animation scenes are put together with images of the time of the war, and also with images of the present Angola. Even though I found this mixture interesting, I had the feeling that the movie was sometimes not very coherent and I you could get lost between the images.
After talking about the negative’s aspects, I feel I should comment the most positive ones. Another Day of Life is a very intimate film with very strong characters. I think the directors did an amazing work portraying the conflict, as are the characters and their experiences the ones that give you information about the conflict itself. Kapuściński is portrayed as an adventurer the typical “boyfriend of the death”, but, the film shows the consequences of this kind of life; along the film, Kapuściński have lots of surrealist thoughts and dreams which I related to post-traumatic stress which is very common in people living in war spheres. Moreover, I really liked the character of Artur; this character is described as a romantic and enthusiastic journalist which truly believes in the political cause; nevertheless, in the life interviews when he is older, he mentions that the war make him “lost its peace” and that all the ideas he fought for, were never truly seen in Angola. I found this character interesting cause it shows how the war experience kills all the ideals and all the revolutionary enthusiasm. Lastly, I would like to comment the character of Carlota, for me, the face of the victims; Carlota is the character which I most emphasized, as she was my age, and we share aspirations. I think her death really shocks the audience and proved how our brain works towards victims; Stalin once said, “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic”, and I really believe this movie as whole, could be synthase in that phrase.
Another thing I really enjoyed while watching the film, was how the idea of conflict itself was represented. When Kapuściński and Artur were heading south, Artur described the south as a kind of Russian roulette. This phrase made me reflect about the concept of civil wars, and how destructive are for the national society. The fact that the enemy could be your neighbor, causes a real pain in the society that is very difficult to heal. Furthermore I enjoyed, Kapuściński final reflections, as they resume the importance of the Cold War and how will really change the course of the events. He mentions how the Cold War never ends and how this would be a problem for the Angolan society. I think this is something very important to mention, because today´s Angola faced a lot of problems due to normalization of the culture of violence. Angola was put down into a conflict that last nearly 30 years, which means that a huge part of the Angolan population was born seeing the war as the only form of living, and they integrated this element to its daily life. In general, I think the film gives an image of the war very realistic that helps you understand the problems the Angolan society had to face after its independence.
Lastly, I would like to comment the soundtrack of the film as I feel it really fits the images. I feel that William Onyeabor song, Better Change Your Mind, represents very well the situation of the Third World countries during the Cold War, and with what seems a simple lyric, it makes the audience reflects. Also, I found the song of the end very accurate as is very emotional and really makes you think about the Angolan society.
In conclusion, I really think this kind of movies are a great way of learning about the history of the 20th century and history in general. In just 1 hour and 40 minutes, the audience is able to have an image of the Angola´s conflict, which is an issue that we normally do not study or even mention. The movie captures very well all the struggles the Angolan society had to face during the war, and some really violet scenes were easy to watch due to its well-made animation. Another Day of Life proves that the animation movies can deal with emotive and difficult matters. To finalized this review I really feel that this movie does a great work portraying the war as a thing about and between people and not as thing about politics and power rivalries.
Kruijt Dirk, “Dictadura Salazarista, descolonización y solidaridad holandesa. El caso de Angola Comité y el CIDAC.” Secuencia 108 (2020):1-24. DOI: 10.18234/secuencia.v0i108.1833
Prunello, María Fátima, “Un ejemplo de la solidaridad entre los pueblos: Cuba y Angola. Una aproximación al internacionalismo cubano” XVI Jornadas Interescuales.Universidad Naacional de Mar de Plata. (2017) https://cdsa.aacademica.org/000-019/749
Álvarez Acosta, M. E, “Angola: apuntes para el balance de un conflicto” África subsahariana: sistema capitalista y relaciones internacionales. (2011): 155-185. http://bibliotecavirtual.clacso.org.ar/clacso/sur-sur/20120312125430/7.Angola_.pdf
Palacios Asensio, Sofía “La cultura de la violencia en Angola: un estudio sobre el asentamiento de la cultura de la violencia en Angola poscolonial a través de testimonios de combatientes cubanos que participaron en la guerra civil (1975-2002) y observadores internacionales que presenciaron el conflicto.” (Trabajo de fin de grado, Universidad Pompeou Fabra, 2018)
 Kruijt Dirk, “Dictadura Salazarista, descolonización y solidaridad holandesa. El caso de Angola Comité y el CIDAC.” Secuencia 108 (2020), p. 7.
 Prunello, María Fátima, “Un ejemplo de la solidaridad entre los pueblos: Cuba y Angola. Una aproximación al internacionalismo cubano” XVI Jornadas Interescuales. Universidad Naacional de Mar de Plata (2017), p. 7.
 Álvarez Acosta, M. E, “Angola: apuntes para el balance de un conflicto” África subsahariana: sistema capitalista y relaciones internacionales. (2011), p. 161.
 Prunello, María Fátima, “Un ejemplo de la solidaridad entre los pueblos: Cuba y Angola. Una aproximación al internacionalismo cubano” … p. 9.
 Álvarez Acosta, M. E, “Angola: apuntes para el balance de un conflicto” … p. 163.
 First attributed to Stalin in the form ‘If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics’, in Washington Post, 20 January 1947.
 Palacios Asensio, Sofia, “La cultura de la violencia en Angola” (Trabajo de fin de grado, Universidad Pompeu Fabra, 2018), p. 40.