MOSQUITO conquers the french press
João Nuno Pinto’s filme MOSQUITO premiered this week at the reopening of cinemas in France (with screening in two dozen theaters). Produced by Paulo Branco, a Leopardo Filmes production, won the French criticism, which places him among the great works that dealt with Portuguese colonialism, and refer to it as “an immersive experience due to the strength of its mise en scène”, “powerful”, “intense”, “brilliant”, “current”. The music, the photography, the décors and the beauty of images will remain in the minds of the viewers for a long time.
In conclusion: “it is the film that will make viewers want to get out of their confinement”.
Ouest France ★★★★
Le Monde ★★★
Le Nouvel Obs. ★★★
“Playing with identifiable references, coming from the heritage of great narratives, from Homer to Coppola, from the Amazon to voodoo, from Anabase to Jules Verne, João Nuno Pinto transforms the evocation of an adventure in Southeast Africa in the early 20th century into a very current critical nightmare.
The director achieves this thanks to the sensorial strength that emanates from his film. Little by little, Zacarias becomes less of a character than the catalyst for a set of impressions, sound and tactile, perhaps more than visual. An immersive experience due to the simple force of his mise en scène (and the work of the actors), Mosquito takes us in an exuberance of ideas and physical impulses. When narrating the story of the soldier Zacarias, he subliminally arises a great cloud of images, which are far from belonging to an exotic and outdated colonial past.
João Nuno Pinto's second feature film thus joins the exceptionally long list of Portuguese films that, according to very different perspectives, were able to observe their colonial heritage, and where we find magnificent works - Non, or Vã Glória de Mandar, by Manoel de Oliveira, Down to Earth and Colossal Youth (awaiting the French premiere of the masterpiece Vitalina Varela) by Pedro Costa, Tabu by Miguel Gomes, The Battle of Tabato by João Viana, Letters from War by Ivo Ferreira…
In this sense, and because most of the former colonial powers are far from having achieved work with a comparable range, especially in cinema, the film is extremely current.” Jean-Michel Frodon, Slate.fr
“The Portuguese settlers' Mozambique had already inspired a sublime film, Tabu (Miguel Gomes, 2012). Mosquito is less baroque, but we identified in it the same captivating melody of a voice off unraveling the memories of a Portuguese narrator who arrived in Africa (aged 17) during the First World War. He wanted to know the world, to overcome himself and defend his homeland against the German enemy. Abandoned by his unit, he leaves in search of it, by foot, covering thousands of kilometers, first with two Mozambican field assistants, and then completely alone.
In the tradition of “Conradian” narratives, but with the frontality of a contemporary investigative cinema, the film shows all kinds of irreversible transitions: the loss of ideals, the farewell to innocence, the drift towards savagery, insanity.
The filmmaker knows how to explore the confines of each situation, the hideousness of rooted colonialism, but also the unforeseen reverse of anger or terror. This results in an aesthetic and moral adventure, a narrative of radical initiation.” Louis Guichard, Télérama ★★★★
“Mosquito then becomes more than a film. It is an open page about the cruelty of the world, the wreckage of slavery and the horror of racial discrimination. It is also the spectacle of the profound transformation of this young boy, in search of his company, as if total breakdown, even hunger and disease, the deprivation of everything, were necessary to become someone other than himself. Mosquito is the initiatory narrative of a young soldier who crosses Mozambique to meet his group again.
Mosquito is the romance of a sentimental and mystical education. The mise en scène, brilliantly valued for a work on breathtaking light, chooses to never name things. We understand from the title that the protagonist may have been bitten by a mosquito and is struck by an opaque hallucinatory disease. We understand above all that this journey creates the opportunity to give your existence a new meaning.
The intelligence of the realization comes from the way the filmmaker mixes visual effects and incorporates a modern soundtrack in his war narrative, which we could consider anachronistic. There are no realization errors. On the contrary, the techno that accompanies the narrative transcends the portrait of this young man in his spiritual universality. The strength of the film emanates mainly from the actor João Nunes Monteiro, who inhabits his character with a rare genius. He both looks like a lost child as a cruel soldier and blinded by the dominant ideology, a teenager in complete silence and a ghost of himself, devoured by the anguish and dread of what awaits him.
Mosquito is a colossal feature film that will allow viewers to get out of their confined environments, to penetrate the spiritual mysteries of this great journey where our hero apprehends the limits of man's animality. The originality of the narrative is indisputable. (…) The intensity with which the actor inhabits his character gives the work an emotional force rarely seen. The music, the photography, the décors, the beauty of the image will haunt the viewers' minds for a long time.” Laurent Cambon, aVoir-aLire.com ★★★★★
“Mosquito is a war movie without war, or the story of a privateer deprived of the battlefront. It doesn’t lose its epic dimension because of that. The photo exudes a heat that sticks to our skin.” Adrien Gombeaud, Les Echos
“This film takes us to a theater of operations of the first world war little known. In the footsteps of a patriotic and idealistic young Portuguese man, he takes us to Mozambique, a Portuguese colony where the occupying force comes into conflict with German imperialist troops.”
Jacques Mandelbaum, Le Monde ★★★
“Mosquito, by João Nuno Pinto, puts racism of the early 20th century in images and inverts the data into an initiatory nightmare narrative.” Nicolas Bauche, Positif ★★★★