Netflix picks up ‘Resgate,’ the first Mozambican film to appear on the platform

Resgate (Redemption) featured on Netflix (screenshot by Dércio Tsandzana).

For the first time, a Mozambique-made independent film will be shown on Netflix. The feature film “Resgate” (translated in English as “Redemption”) was written and directed by Mickey Fonseca, who is from Mozambique, and will premiere on the platform in July.

Resgate” was partially financed via crowdfunding and was filmed in Mozambique in 2017. The film's plot was summarized by the Portuguese newspaper Público:

Resgate centra-se na história de Bruno, que quer mudar de vida depois de ter passado quatro anos na prisão e conhecer finalmente a filha bebé que partilha com Mia.

Tenta encontrar, primeiro sem sucesso, um trabalho como mecânico, a profissão em que se especializou. A tia, irmã da sua recém-falecida mãe, arranja-lhe um emprego numa garagem.

Mas este novo plano de vida cai por terra quando, sem aviso, o banco ameaça despejá-lo da casa da mãe se não pagar o empréstimo, por ele desconhecido, que ela contraiu antes de morrer. E é aí que vai ter de voltar ao mundo do crime.

Resgate focuses on the story of Bruno. After spending four years in prison, Bruno wants to change his life and finally get to know the baby daughter he shares with Mia.

He tries to find work as a mechanic, a job he is familiar with, and is initially unsuccessful. Eventually his aunt, who is the sister of his recently-deceased mother, gets him a job in a garage.

But Bruno's new life is unexpectedly blown apart when the bank threatens to evict him from his mother's house if he does not pay back the loan that she, unbeknownst to him, took out before she died. He then returns to a life of crime.

Resgate had a commercial cinematic release in Mozambique, Angola, and Portugal in 2019. It was also shown at festivals in Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe.

In the same year, the film won the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMA Awards) for Best Screenplay and Best Production Design. The awards are held annually in Nigeria and are the most prestigious in the world for African cinema. It was also awarded the Courageous Film Award at the Film Fest Zell in Austria.

Fonseca told the Mozambican Ministry of Culture that he feels honoured to see his film broadcast by one of the biggest online streaming services in the world:

“Resgate” foi muito bem recebido a nível nacional e isso foi emocionante para nós, porque fizemos o filme com muito sacrifício e meios próprios. Estamos a levar o filme para o resto do mundo, de modo que todos possam ver.

Resgate was really well received on a national level, which was exciting for us because we sacrificed a lot and used our own means to make the film. We're bringing the film to the rest of the world in an accessible way.

The film will be available on Netflix with English dubbing, which was well-received on Mozambican Twitter:

African productions have recently been featuring more prominently on Netflix. The selection includes the South African series “Queen Sono”, which is the first Netflix original series to be produced entirely in Africa.

Other African highlights in the platform's catalogue are the cartoon “Mama K's Team 4“, which is also South African, and Nollywood classics such as “Lion Heart” and “Chief Daddy”.

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