A fable set in war-torn Mozambique, based on a short story by Mia Kouto
It’s not often that you see a fable when you watch a film lately, but perhaps because it’s based on a literary story by Mia Kouto, or for some other reason, Mabata Bata is a fable, and a well tailored one at that. It follows Azarias, a boy in rural Mozambique torn apart by the Civil war, who is not allowed to go to school because he has to fatten the cows for his uncle’s dowry. It’s a dangerous feat when the earth is full of land mines, and one day something terrible happens. Interweaving the monologue of a grown-up Azarias with the magical ritual that his family performs, Mabata Bata becomes a powerful statement on living in disparate conditions. “In times of war, the best plan is to end the war,” Azarias says towards the end, and I couldn’t agree more.
Mabata Bata, 2018
Director: Sol de Carvalho