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Isabella Cristina Schisler Giordano


By focusing on Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa's Vitalina Varela (2019), and the representation of the film's protagonist, Vitalina: a working-class black immigrant from Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony, I investigate how Costa subverts or reinforces dominant models of representation, considering the postcolonial context in Portugal. For this, I detail relevant aspects of Costa's filmography and Portuguese cinema in relation to my object of study. I then address theoretical arguments about the construction of otherness and stereotyping practices, based on Stuart Hall, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi K. Bhabha's work, also contextualizing stereotypical representations aimed at black and working-class women. Finally, I discuss different strategies that challenge, contest and subvert dominant regimes of representation, such as reversing stereotypes or replacing negative images with positive ones. In light of this framework, I analyze Vitalina's representation and, as a counterpoint, of two working-class s black women in the Brazilian film Café com Canela (2017), co-directed by Ary Rosa and Glenda Nicácio.