European Film Festival Paris
from 17 to 31 March 2022
European Film Festival Paris
from 17 to 31 March 2022

The Murmuring Coast / A Costa dos Murmúrios

by Margarida Cardoso

(Fiction, Portugal/France, 2004, 115', C, VOSTF) with Beatriz Batarda, Filipe Duarte, Monica Calle, Adriano Luz

The Murmuring Coast

End of the 60’s in Lourenço-Marques. Eva arrives in the Mozambican capital to marry her fiancé, a lieutenant in the Portuguese army. Locked in the oppressive lock-up of officers’ wives, she escapes to venture into the colonial city fraught with social and political tensions. And finds out what the war has done to her husband.


The Murmuring Coast is adapted from the homonymous novel of Lidia Jorge who, like Margarida, lived in Mozambique during the war. The deadly violence that remains out of sight undermines relations within the small community of soldiers “This violence, which the men bring from the front, is then projected on their women.”  When they try to break codes and conventions, they find themselves cloistered in male oppression. Absurdity and cruelty take over everyone’s privacy, destroy friendships and loyalties, and are inexorably fatal. Margarida Cardoso composes her shots in time and space, and stages her characters surrounded in the perspectives of the sets. The filmmaker does not limit herself to denouncing the lies and follies of this stunted and unhealthy microcosm. She stresses the impossibility of meetings with Africans, held on the margins: “they were extras in the colonial city.”

« As soon as I started making films, I wanted to explore my relationship with this past in Africa. I wanted to scrutinize something terrible that I didn’t really understand as a child. It’s that mystery that drives me towards these countries. » Margarida Cardoso

Margarida Cardoso
Margarida Cardoso

Margarida Cardoso, born in 1963, grew up in Mozambique, where her father was a soldier during the war. Before establishing herself as a major filmmaker of Portuguese cinema, she worked as a screenwriter and assistant director. Most of his films are shot in Africa “to which I always return.” Her work questions colonial history, relations between Europeans and Africans, past and present. With the documentary Natal 71 (1999), which evokes the anxieties and interrogations of Portuguese soldiers in Mozambique, she breaks the silence of society and her own father about the war. This unveiling of a hidden past continues with The Murmuring Coast, her most famous film, Leopard of Tomorrow in Locarno, presented in Venice, and winner of awards in Portugal and international festivals. Many of her films focus on independent Mozambique. Kuxa Kanema (2003) tells the story of the birth of national cinematography; then she portraits one of its artisans, the filmmaker Licinio de Azevedo (2010). Yvonne Kane (2014) investigates the ghosts of struggle and independence. She has shot documentaries in Cape Verde and Angola. Understory (2019), a feature-length documentary that explores the traces of the history of cocoa on the island of São Tomé, was created with her original footage for Banzo, a feature-length fiction film she shot in 2022.

Other movies: Season France-Portugal 2022