Sleepwalking Land (Terra Sonâmbula) represents two exceptional debuts. It is a first film by Teresa Prata, based on a first novel, by the Mozambican writer Mia Couto. Published in 1992, the book was chosen by an international panel as one of the twelve best African books of the 20th century (it was, however, not translated into English until 2006). And Prata does it proud in her simple yet poetic adaptation.
Set at the end of the country's vicious, 17-year-long civil war, Sleepwalking Land consists of two parallel and, it seems at first, only loosely related storylines. In the framing narrative, a small boy and an old man wander through a desolate, dangerous country whose soul has been sucked out by decades of violence. The boy, Muidinga, is an orphan; the man, Tuahir, is his protector, though he has lost his belief in human goodness and constantly cautions his companion against forming emotional attachments.
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