This essay is an effort to imagine new modes of revolutionary cinema in the age of the Capitalocene. Starting from the premise that the environmental volatility of this new epoch forces us to fundamentally reconsider the basic tenets of the revolutionary imagination, the essay asks what radical transformation looks like when we abandon earlier modes of resistance and visions of the future that are wedded to anthropocentric fantasies of humanity's sovereignty over nature and the promises of petromodernity. To begin answering this question, the text takes up the lo-fi Angolan Africanfuturist film Air Conditioner (Fradique 2020). Set in Luanda, Angola, where air-conditioning units across the city suddenly begin failing and falling from windows, the film dramatizes the problems of technological collapse combined with a rapidly warming climate. Resigning the legacies of colonialism and the nation's protracted conflict between communist and capitalist forces to the decaying infrastructural backdrop of the film, Air Conditioner is instead concerned with the new modes of solidarity and ideas of futurity that emerge from within these conditions of catastrophe. The film's incidental references to socialism, combined with its meandering narrative and languid pace, render it quite different in form and tone from the revolutionary anti-colonial cinemas of independence. Thus, against earlier images of revolution as a sudden rupture that harnesses the twin powers of industrialization and human agency, Air Conditioner roots itself in slowness, imagining revolution as a process of withdrawal based on the wearing out of life.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.