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O Comboio de Sal e Açúcar | by LICíNIO AZEVEDO | Feature film | 2016 | Portugal-Mozambique-France-Brazil-South Africa | 93 min | color


In 1989, fifteen years after independence, Mozambique was a country ruined by civil war. Even sugar, once produced in large quantities, has become rare and precious. From Nampula to Cuamba, the train is the only hope for hundreds of civilians willing to risk everything, including their lives, to exchange a few bags of salt for Mozambican sugar Malawi.
The trip goes five miles an hour on sabotaged line sections. Obstacles and constant disasters rendered vulnerable all travelers. The Train of Salt and Sugar is a story of faith, hope, and unexpected love.


Director: Licínio Azevedo
Screenplay: Licínio Azevedo, Teresa Pereira
Adapted from the eponym novel by Licínio Azevedo

Director of Photography: Frédéric Serve
Sound Engineer: Philippe Fabbri
Sound Design & Mixing: Matthew James, Kiko Ferraz
Editing: Willem Dias
Production design: Andrée du Preez
Costume Design: Isabel Peres
Original Soundtrack: Joni Schwalbach


Cast: Matamba Joaquim, Melanie de Vales Rafael, Thiago Justino, António Nipita, Sabina Fonseca, Horácio Guiamba, Celeste Baloi, Hermelinda Simela, Mário Mabjaia, Victor Raposo, Abdil Juma, Absalão Narduela, Tunecas Xavier, Mário Valente, Absalão Maciel, Carlos Novela, Abdul Satar, Alvim Cossa


Producers: Licínio Azevedo, Philippe Avril, Beto Rodrigues, Tatiana Sager, Elias Ribeiro & John Trengove
Production: Ukbar Filmes (Portugal), Les Films de l'Étranger (France), Ebano Multimedia (Mozambique), Panda Filmes (Brasil), Urucu Media (South Africa)

                         World premiere : Locarno International Film Festival,

                         Piazza Grande, August 10, 2016 : Bocallino d’Oro

                         for Best Production
                         Best Director - Cairo Film Festival
                         Best Film - Jo'burg Film Festival

                         Special Mention - 33e Festival international de cinéma

                         Vues d'Afrique, Montréal

                         Golden Tanit of the International feature competition and                          Best Picture Prize - 28th JCC Journées Cinématographiques                          de Carthage

                         Represents Mozambique for the 2018 Oscar of the Best

                         Foreign Film.

                         Other festivals:

                         War on Screen, France
                         Festival do Rio, Brasil
                         Mostra de Belo Horizonte, Brasil
                         36e Festival International du Film d'Amiens, France
                         International Film Festival of India, India
                         33rd Mons International Love Film Festival, Belgium
                         Fantasporto, Festival Internacional do Porto, Portugal
                         Guadalajara Film Festival, Mexico
                         33e Reflets du cinéma ibérique et Latino-américain de

                         Villeurbanne, France
                         35e Festival Itinérances d’Alès, France






World sales :


Moving and poignant, The Train of Salt and Sugar follows a train and its passengers on their harrowing and often violent journey--a journey of self-discovery, and of pain, hunger, death and love. Out of every conflict situation comes a myriad of stories, stories about people, set against the backdrop of war. During the bitter and protracted Mozambican civil war there are many such stories, but none so courageous nor so passionate and beautiful as that told in The Train of Salt and Sugar.

Mozambique, after many years of war, first for their independence against the Portuguese and then against each other during the civil war, was left a desolate wasteland; with little or no infrastructure and a starving population. Trains seldom ran, the tracks had been sabotaged and the probability of enemy attacks was very real. Yet on a misty morning in the town of Nampula, in northern Mozambique, a convoy of three trains, loaded with supplies, three garrisons of soldiers and over 600 passengers left relative safety, destined for Cuamba, a town 341 kilometers to the west, bordering Malawi. The book takes its title from a woman, Mariamu, who plans to trade her supply of salt, a rare commodity, for sugar, an even rarer commodity, in Malawi, thus enabling her to feed her children in the coming year.

The harrowing journey is as colorful as its passengers--civilians and soldiers alike. A fragile love is born amid the death--between a young nurse returning home and a soldier who's tasked with protecting her. A despicable officer whose behaviors repulses; insightful railwaymen and an unseen enemy whose numerous and varied attacks leave the passengers terrified, exhausted and dying of thirst--these are the protagonists.

(30 Degrees South)

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