Mozambique has a lost and forgotten film history that spans over forty years. The country, whose stake as a Portugese colony came to a close with independence in 1975, had its first Institution of National Cinema, a film production unit, portable cinemas, and a successful Guerrilla Cinema model thanks to Marxist revolutionary Samora Machel. In the mid-80s civil war erupted, bringing an end to national filmmaking as a pastime, and in the 90s private production companies began springing up after the new constitution allowed for press freedom. 2006 saw Mozambique hold its first documentary film festival Dockanema.
Films Shot in the Country
Although not a well-known film destination, Mozambique has been a great location in previous years. In 2006 the country doubled as Sierra Leone in Blood Diamond, and the biopic Ali starring Will Smith was also shot in Mozambique. It doubled as the Congo for the story of Lumumba, their first prime minister, and in 2014 Yvone Kane was shot in Mozambique, too.
Most recently Train of Salt and Sugar, a film directed by Licínio Azevedo, is on the rise. It is set in the civil-war-torn northern Mozambique of the late 80s and has been hailed by critics as the first “great African Western”. In late 2016 it won Best Film at Joburg Film Festival and also scooped the Independent Italian Critics Award (Boccalini d’Ouro) for Best Film at the Locarno Film Festival.
“This movie has been an incredible labour of love for all of us,” Co-Producer Elias Ribeiro of Urucu Media said recently. “This harrowing story based on true facts revealed such fascinating complexities of the human lot and mixed with a dose of magic realism; the director has managed to capture the imagination of audiences to provide us with a riveting story that engages and fascinates.”
Continue reading this month’s Issue to learn more about filming in this idyllic coastal paradise.