Nayola portrays the horrors of war affecting three generations of women from the same family with stunning paint-inspired animation.

Nayola, directed by José Miguel Ribeiro introduces the horrors of the Angolan civil war to global audiences with its ripples affecting three generations from 1975 to the modern day.

Nayola was screened as part of the London Film Festival 2022. All words of this review were written entirely by the writers at Cinamore.

With mesmerising artwork and designs used, Nayola manages to tell the tale of war as a warning and also a fable, as if the terrors witnessed the need to be justified as a warning for the future.

Speaking candidly, I know little of the Angolan civil war, however, this is where I believe storytelling allows films to truly excel. Stories become windows into history, into lives, and into truths, and it is exactly this that Nayola does so well.

With paint stroke designs and hues of amber on screen, the monstrosities become art, but in fact, the film transcends and tells a universal story about hope.

Each woman in the film, Lelena (the grandmother), Nayola (the daughter) and Yara (the granddaughter) each hope for something. Lelena for the war to end finally, Nayola to find her husband, and Yara to be free.

Within each desire is their shared hope, and a respective art style, and whilst the war does everything it can to break their hopes, ultimately they persisted and did what I can only hope many in Angolia did: hope.

Interestingly, the film also tackles concepts in the metaphorical with a jackal acting as a companion to Nayola. As an omen, the jackal at first presents as death, the ever-looming beast that will take its victims, but could also be seen as the protective figure omnipotent to life.

Admittedly for an animation film to so beautifully capture the beauty in the horror of war and generational trauma is exactly where Nayola excels and allows it to become an entrance into the conversation of the Angolan war.

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By Conor Riley

Conor is the Founder and Editor for Cinamore, a publication focused on giving power back to journalists. As a portmanteau of the word 'Cinema' and the Italian word for love 'Amore', Cinamore aims to highlight the love that we all carry for the art of the moving image.


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