Wednesday, August 17, 2016

“Train of Salt and Sugar”

Resultado de imagem para licinio azevedo“Train of Salt and Sugar”, a film by Brazilian Licinio Azevedo who has lived in Maputo for forty years, premiered on Wednesday on the 300-square metre screen in Locarno’s Piazza Grande – an honour reserved only for the greatest productions.“Train of Salt and Sugar” is probably the first great African western. The feature film tells the story of a train and its passengers who embark on a dangerous journey during the Mozambican civil war.The director had the idea while reading the newspaper: “I found that in the north, there was a train where women used to travel 700 km to Malawi, all through the war,” he says. “They bought salt on the coast to exchange for sugar in Malawi. Then they returned [to Mozambique] and sold [the sugar]. With this, they supported their family. Bit it was a hellish journey.”Licinio Azevedo initially thought of making a documentary, but decided later on a novel. To make the film, the director sought the support of French, Portuguese, South African and Brazilian producers, as well as using prize money he won two years ago Through the Locarno Film Festival’s “Open Doors” programme.
Resultado de imagem para licinio azevedo

The hardest part of making the film, according to the director, was shooting the locomotive and carriages on railway lines where other commercial and passenger trains were circulating.“The logistics and organisation was the most difficult, especially in the case of a war movie in a country where civil war was about to start,” Azevedo told DW Africa.According to the director, it was not easy to get permission from the government to shoot – the team was already on the ground when the authorities finally gave the green light. The Ministry of Defence, however, ended up supporting the production, “giving us a group of thirty or so soldiers to train the actors, work with us. For a country at war, just to fire a shot would be enough for all the people to flee across the border”.Although it revives a very specific period – the civil war in Mozambique – for Licinio Azevedo, “Train of Salt and Sugar” tells a story that could be adapted to other realities, and will interest the public around the world. “I think we have made a great film – a modern movie, a western, a war film – a story that could be located in Latin America, Mexico, India, China, wherever.”

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