Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  80 minutes
Date:  2013
Genre:  Expository
Language:  Portuguese; English / English subtitles
Grade level: 8-12, COLLEGE, ADULT
Color/BW:  Color
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Guerrilla Grannies

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Filmmaker Ike Bertels' portrait of three women veterans of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) offers an intimate view of Mozambique's history since its 1975 independence.

Guerrilla Grannies

As a student in the 1960s, Dutch filmmaker Ike Bertels became captivated by an image she saw in a BBC documentary about Mozambique's war for independence: three young members of the Women's Detachment of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) sitting on the grass and cleaning their rifles.

Almost two decades later, in 1984, she tracked down the three women: Monica, Amelia, and Maria, who were now living through the civil war that followed Mozambique's independence. Monica now served as a member of a Central Committee of the ruling FRELIMO party. Maria was in school and taking care of her five children, and Amelia worked as a seamstress. Ten years later, Bertels returned to Mozambique to document these women once again, as they navigated the new society that emerged after the conclusion of the civil war in 1992.

GUERILLA GRANNIES depicts Bertels' third encounter with these remarkable women, all three now grandmothers in their 60s, and narrates the filmmaker's long friendship with them. Today Mozambique has a growing industrial economy and stable political system. It also ranks among the top 25 countries in the world for women, according to a 2012 World Economic Forum report, thanks largely to the efforts of pioneers like Monica, Amelia, and Maria. Their success in helping transform the county has sapped none of their ambition, and the film reveals their tireless efforts to create a better life for their children and grandchildren.

Ruminating on her decades-long relationship with these three women, Bertels catalogues everything she has learned from them, realizing that they taught her 'how to live in this world.' The filmmaker's loving portrait of these women shows us the powerful cross-cultural relationships that can develop between a filmmaker and subject over decades of dedicated documentation, and an unsensational side of African life to which the cinema rarely grants us access.

No reviews available.


** 2012 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
** 2012 DOCKANEMA7 (Maputo, Mozambique)
** 2012 Netherlands Film Festival
** 2012 African Diaspora Film Festival, New York
** 2013 Africa Festival Leuven (Belgium)
** 2013 Fespaco (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso)
** 2013 Annual Africa World Documentary Film Festival


Main credits

Bertels, Ike (Director)
Ribeiro, João (Cinematographer)
Diependaele, Dieter (Film editor)
Elings, Albert (Film editor)
Goeliers, Jeroen (Composer)

Other credits

Script and direction, Ike Bertels; director of photography, João Ribeiro; editor, Dieter Diependaele, Albert Elings; music & soundmix, Jeroen Goeliers.

Distributor credits

A film by Ike Bertels

Docuseek2 subjects

Citizenship, Social Movements and Activism
African History
Family Issues
Women's Studies
20th Century
African Studies

Distributor subjects

African History
African Studies
Conflict Resolution
Family Relations
History (World)
Human Rights
Social Movements
Women's Studies


Mozambique; FRELIMO; liberation; army; war; struggle; aftermath; revolution; women; Maputo; Samora Machel; Portugal; post-colonial; Africa; Guerrilla Grannies; documentary; film; video; DVD; "Guerrilla Grannies"; Icarus Films;

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