The Blue Eyes of Yonta / Udju azul de Yonta

Director: Flora Gomes
Country: Guinea-Bissau
Year: 1992
Running Time: 90 min.
Language: Creole and Portuguese

Yonta is a beautiful young woman growing up in the city of Bissau a generation after her nation has gained independence. She develops a secret crush on Vincente, a good friend of her family and a hero of their country’s struggle, beginning a story of unrequited love in the developing city. Meanwhile, Yonta herself has a secret admirer, a shy young man names ZÈ, who sends her love letters copied from a Scandinavian book. It is from one such letter that the film gets its title. A lovely, delicate work about youthful illusions, both personal and national, that powerfully demonstrates director Flora Gomes’s marvelous talent for eliciting wonderfully nuanced performances. Only the second film from Guinea Bissau and Gomes, The Blue Eyes of Yonta shows us how alike we all are when it comes to matters of the heart.

About the Director

Flora Gomes

Biography: Flora Gomes, born Florentino Gomes, was born in Cadique, Guinea-Bissau in 1949. He studied cinema in Cuba before receiving instruction from Paulin Soumanou Vieyra on newsreel production in Senegal and working as a journalist. His career took off with Mortu Nega (Those Whom Death Refused) in 1988, which was awarded many international prizes and had commercial success. This was followed in 1992 by Udju Azul di Yonta (The Blue Eyes of Yonta), which was elected for Un certain regard at Cannes. In 1996 he presented his film Po di Sangui (Tree of Blood) for competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Many critics consider the award-winning film to be his best. His feature film My Voice (Nha fala) (2002) has also won him several local and international awards.

(Source: Through African Eyes – Dialogues with the Directors, BONETTI Mahen and REDDY Prerana (Editors), 2003, African Film Festival, Inc. and Printinfo JV LLC, Yerevan, Armenia, p.44)

Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Mortu Nega [Those Whom Death Refused] (1999);
Udju Azul di Yonta [The Blue Eyes of Yonta] (1993, 1999);
Po di Sangui [Tree of Blood] (1998, 1999).

Filmography:
O Regresso de Cabral (1976);
Mortu Nega [Those Whom Death Refused] (1988);
Udju Azul di Yonta [The Blue Eyes of Yonta] (1992);
A Mascara (1995);
Po di Sangui [Tree of Blood] (1996);
My Voice [Nha fala] (2002);
As Duas Faces da Guerra (2007);
L’Afrique vue par… [Africa Seen by…] – A pegadas de todos os tempos (2009);
La République des enfants (2010).