Mabata-Bata in Motion: The Transformation of Mia Couto’s Narrative in Sol de Carvalho’s Film

Lola Geraldes Xavier, João Viana, Silvie Špánková

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyzes Mia Couto’s short story “O dia em que explodiu Mabata-bata” [The day Mabata-bata exploded] and its adaptation by Sol de Carvalho’s film Mabata Bata. Through an analysis of both versions, this study aims to understand how Couto’s narrative was recreated and transfigured in the film adaptation. The film adaptation of the story employs a blend of images and additional text to extend the verbal dimensions of the original story, thus creating a new experience. It establishes affinities with the original story and introduces new elements that add to the narrative’s depth and complexity. The adaptation of the story in the film provides an opportunity to examine the decolonial perspective of the nation’s history, portraying the symbolic metamorphosis during the civil war (1977–1992). By analyzing both the short story and the film, this study highlights the pivotal role of literature and cinema in fostering a Mozambique “de-linking” identity through language, religion and traditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number46
JournalHumanities (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • civil war
  • decolonial
  • Mia Couto
  • Mozambique
  • Sol de Carvalho


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