The “barefoot diva”, the iconic Cesária Évora in a documentary that shows never-before-seen footage and offers a never-before-explored view of the life of the Cape Verdean singer who, though not corresponding to the normal model of success, was able to overcome all the conditions that would normally keep her out of the limelight. This is the story of a black African woman, over fifty years old and from a poor background, whose only dream was to be free.
Black, poor, woman, over 50. Born under colonialism, raised in an orphanage. Cesária Évora had nothing but her voice. And her voice took her from a country hardly on the map to world stardom. But owning a house was her only wish. Freedom was the ground beneath her feet. Her life was a fight against prejudices. Throughout Cesária, the film reflects about racial and gender inequality and colonialism. An intimate portrait, with unreleased songs, never-before-seen archives and unique testimonies.
It’s lost in time, the first time I saw Cesária. I was far away from guessing that I’d have a house two-steps away from hers.
On the day after Cesária’s funeral, I stood outside my house and I noticed the sadness in people’s eyes. At that moment,
I started thinking: how many films are out there about black women? And about black women, over 50, living in Africa, who became an international icon and were able to change their own country?
Life wanted me to spend long periods in Africa. This proximity allowed me to look at Cesária’s story without strangeness; but, at the same time, with the distance to have an independent look.
This is my second feature length and I’m still discovering my voice as a film director. For me, a documentary is a door to understanding what is most universa – our humanity. I wish to make people look at different realities promoting reflection.
This film is a personal and professional challenge. It makes me wonder about my own family’s roots and colonialism. Telling Cesária’s story is thinking of Cabo Verde. A country that my two sons call home.
For her, storytelling is a way of life. She started in journalism over 20 years ago and soon dedicated herself to compelling human stories. Her work has been distinguished with dozens of awards. Seven years ago she took up her love for cinema. Her first feature was five weeks on Portuguese theaters.