THE much anticipated opening of the Oshana Film Festival kicks off this Friday with the Mozambican war drama ‘Train of Salt and Sugar’ at the Epic Cinema at Ongwediva at 18h00. Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa will open the festival and tickets will be available at the venue.
The ‘Train of Salt and Sugar,’ (Mozambique, 2016), directed by Licinio Azevedo, is 93 minutes long and is set in Mozambique in the midst of its civil war. A single train connects Nampula to Malawi. No civilians are allowed and yet hundreds risk their lives through 700 kilometres of sabotaged tracks. Salomão and Taiar are two soldiers who don’t get along. Rosa is a young nurse on her way to her first job, who soon becomes an object of desire. Mariamu, her close friend, only hopes to trade salt for sugar. Amongst bullets and laughter, life goes on and stories unfold as the train advances under attack, ever so slowly, towards the next stop.
Lorenco Esposito, the programme director of the Lorcarno Film Festival where the film had its world premiere highlights: “We’re on a train of love and war, headed towards hell or heaven, where women have to defend themselves from the soldiers’ rage, even though some fall in love with them and give birth to their children under the breathtaking vistas of distant Africa. The road is long and dangerous, over 700 kilometres that reek of blood and death, interrupted by continuous sabotage: Assaults by militias at the service of warlords and suicide attacks by nameless troops. The peaks of violence, the most painful deaths and even the duels feel as if they were yearning for an off-camera exit. They’re restrained not because they’re anti-spectacular, but to tell the story of the melancholic dignity of a people robbed of their dreams and hopes.
At its African premiere, the film won Best Film at the Joburg Film Festival in November 2016.