Dreaming of great adventures and of standing up for his homeland, a young Portuguese man enlists in the army during World War I and is sent to the front line in Mozambique, Africa. Left behind by his platoon, he sets out on a grueling trek across the mystic Makua native land, walking for over a thousand kilometers, in search of his dream.Download Presskit
"Reality is not in leaving or arriving:
it comes to us halfway through the journey."
Guimarães Rosa, Brazilian writer
In 1917, aged 17, my grandfather landed in Mozambique along with the 4th Portuguese Expeditionary Company, in order to defend the Portuguese ex-colony against the German threat. Like so many other European soldiers in Africa during World War I, they had to walk hundreds of kilometers every day, facing hard deprivations, diseases, hunger and thirst. The only difference is that he did it all by himself, completely alone, looking for the war and for his dreams of glory. Although Mosquito is inspired by my grandfather’s journey in Africa, no one really knows what he went through during his long and solitary journey. This is where fiction and the meaning I want to convey the narrative comes in.
The way we Europeans and others still deal with African issues today reflects our colonial past and the long years of indoctrination of a certain paternalistic ideal about Africa. Mosquito uses a history of the past to confront us with choices of the present. Through the story of young Zacarias we are confronted with the horror of the war, and the subjugation of African people by the Europeans, through colonial domination. The film gives us a little more insight into a forgotten piece of our history, World War I in Africa, forcing us to reflect on a much longer period, when it was our right to subjugate and “civilize” other people who we conveniently considered to be inferior.
Private Zacarias’ lonely journey searching for his platoon is the backbone of the story. Through its clear references to classicalGreek narrative, Mosquito navigates within the genre of an epic film, which makes it universal in its dialectic. Yet, it is not merely concerned with using the genre's classical codes, but also a language and a narrative approach that breaks away from conventions, meeting a more authorial universe. In a way, the film's unique approach dissociates it from a classical form and embraces a more raw and contemporary narrative, putting us closer to the (less and less) innocent look of the young soldier.
The film shows a kind of fluctuation between reality and fantasy, past and present, the fabrication and the everyday. The situations may seem fantastic but they are real. The hallucinations may seem real but they are built by a troubled mind. And its remembrances appear like scattered fragments of the memory. The idea of the reality versus the imaginary is important because of its closeness with the creation of history and war itself. That is part of Mosquito’s narrative: exploring the imaginary space left blurred by the historical amnesia.