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.
JOÃO NUNES MONTEIRO
MANUEL JOÃO VIEIRA
with the special participation of
ANA MAGAIA and CAMANÉ
JOÃO NUNO PINTO
JOÃO NUNO PINTO
NUNO GABRIEL MELLO, TIGRE DE FOGO
ANA PINHÃO MOURA
ANA PINHÃO MOURA
A LEOPARDO FILMES production
In coproduction with
ALFAMA FILMS PRODUCTION
With the financial support of
ICA Instituto Cinema e Audiovisual
RTP Rádio e Televisão de Portugal
L’Aide Aux Cinemas du Monde
CNC Centre National du Cinéma et de l'Image Animée - Institut Francais
L’aide à la Coproduction D’œuvres Cinématographiques Franco-portugaises
Creative Europe Programme Media Of The European Union
With the support of
INAC Instituto Nacional Audiovisual e Cinema, Mozambique
João Nuno Pinto is a Portuguese director, born in 1969 at Lourenço Marques, Mozambique. He moved to Portugal at the age of 5, shortly after the independence of the former Portuguese colony. In his latest years he has lived in Lisbon and São Paulo.
With a consolidated international career in advertising, in 2010 João Nuno Pinto premiered America, his first feature, an ironic look at contemporary Portugal through the eyes of illegal immigrants. The film was acclaimed in Portugal, Spain, and Brazil. It was selected and awarded by several film festivals around the world.
Mosquito, his latest film, co-written by his wife, the screenwriter Fernanda Polacow, and Gonçalo Waddington, is inspired by João Nuno Pinto’s grandfather's story in Africa during World War I and took almost 7 years to prepare.
Don’t Swim (short film, 2015)
Skype Me (short film, 2008)
IFFR – International Film Festival Rotterdam
Official Selection - Big Screen Competition - Opening Film
Burgas Film Festival (Bulgaria)
Special Mention From the Jury
Gröningen Film Festival
34th Braunschweig International Film Festival
Bengaluru Film Festival
Geneva Film Festival
Lucca Film Festival
Scanorama Film Festival
Split Film Festival
Tapei International Film Festival
João Nuno Pinto
"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 classical Greek 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.
News about Mosquito
“Mosquito”, a film by João Nuno Pinto, premieres in France on June 22nd. The film will be screening in 19 theaters
Mosquito, directed by João Nuno Pinto and written by Fernanda Polacow and Gonçalo Waddington, arrives in the French theaters on June 22nd. Starring João Nunes Monteiro and produced by Paulo Branco, the film is inspired by the experience of the director's grandfather, who was part of the Portuguese army that fought German forces in Mozambique during the First World War and is one of the films featured in the reopening of the French theaters. On the 22nd of June it premieres in 9 of the most important theaters in several cities in France, followed by another 10 in the following weeks (to see calendar, click here).
IFFR – International Film Festival Rotterdam – Opening Film - MOSQUITO by João Nuno Pinto
The IFFR – International Film Festival Rotterdam announces today that MOSQUITO, João Nuno Pinto's new film, produced by Paulo Branco, a Leopardo Filmes production, co-produced by Alfama Films Production (France), APM Produções (Portugal) , Delicatessen Films (Brazil) and Mapiko Filmes (Mozambique), will be the opening film of the IFFR - International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020, which will take place from January 22nd to February 2nd, where it will be competing in the Big Screen Competition section, for the Big Screen Award.
Premiering at the 2020 Rotterdam film festival, João Nuno Pinto’s MOSQUITO is an provocative, if derivative, odyssey into the heart of colonial darkness.
Jorge Mourinha, The Flickering Wall
João Nuno Pinto's Portuguese World-War-One drama tackles Portugal's colonial shady past in Africa.
Ard Vijn, Screen Anarchy
Rotterdam’s opening film is a fever dream account of a young Portuguese soldier’s experiences in 1917 Mozambique.
Pinto crafts a stark depiction of the morally grey, crafting a character that demonstrates every facet of the human condition; he’s flawed and easily led, yet also masterfully empathetic.
Nathanial Eker, UK Film Review