Maldoror's vital film was made for practical purposes-to document the struggles of the Angolan War of Independence, and the widespread imprisonment and torture of members of the MPLA, at a time when the war against Portugese colonialists was by no means over. With its cast of non-professionals and its absence of visual flourish, Maldoror's film emerges from and speaks to its circumstances: functional film-making, which doesn't mean a suspension of 'quality' for the contextual, but which makes a strong claim for a mode of cinema that cannot be disentangled from 'context', in which form and function match. The film is neither the exposée of neo-realism nor the humanist of 'poetic realism', but something entirely its own. The scenario is simple, but has its heart the willed obscurity of a colonial regime who lock away and murder those who challenge them in secret: Domingos, an MPLA militant, is abruptly kidnapped by colonial authorities in a horrific dawn raid of the village; his wife Maria walks from prison to prison, and the film follows her journey, and that of a network of clandestine militants who seek to obtain information on Domingos' location while themselves remaining ever-careful to avoid exposure. It's a woman-Maria-and an old man and a young boy-the pair who watch the prison for those who have been secretly deposited there-who form the central points of identification, and while a superficial viewing might suggest that the film reinforces normative gender roles-Maria's entire focus is on her husband, rendering her in that sense secondary to a political struggle figured as male-that would miss the point. Maria's grief and uncertainty is genuine, her task is practical: screaming Domingo's name outside the prison is a practical, political act, as well as a raw welling-up of grief. And the collective network which seeks to aid her, and which can only emerge through mediated forms of communication, the slow process of connection, the discovery of information piece by piece, involves men, women and children, suggests a model of the society that might emerge once the struggle is one, eventually coming into focus in the closing performance of song, a public statement of solidarity and resolve, a joyful memorial for the dead. Made ten years after the events it describes the film is able to close with end titles that note the progress such struggle ensured, even if that struggle has by no means by entirely won. Though Domingos dies, Maria's persistence, along with that of the network of other militants who receive the news of his death, and who will soon go on to storm the prison, suggest qualities of survival and defiance that assume both a personal and a collective level. A luta continua.