Creative Documentary by Inadelso Cossa / 80 mins / in Pre-Production


Immersed in Mozambique's intricate history, I'm compelled to unravel the narrative woven into the film "The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder." Returning to my grandmother Maria's village, I'm driven by a personal quest to expose the untold stories of my childhood during the civil war.


This film, a sensory exploration of personal and collective memory, originates from my childhood vacations amid the civil war's paradox. A rebel attack, concealed by my grandmother as fireworks, becomes the catalyst for my cinematic endeavor—an attempt to break the silence enveloping post-civil-war Mozambique.

Maria, once a storyteller, now battles Alzheimer's, blurring the lines between truth and fiction. In her village, echoes of a former rebel mirror the haunting presence of perpetrators and victims, intertwining day and night, reality and imagination. The ghosts of war that still imhabits the former rebel are possesing the presence.   


Motivated by the need to dismantle societal denial, the film seeks to unveil authentic stories obscured by fiction, as I return to Maria's village armed with cinematic tools. Challenging conventional aesthetics, the film becomes a sensorial journey, symbolized by Moises, the boom operator. The audience is prompted to listen closely, transcending the visual to experience the haptic nature of memory—the smell of gunpowder, the touch of suppressed emotions.


In this dance between truth and fiction, memory and forgetting, "The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder" stands as my testament to the resilience of human memory.  I navigate the labyrinth of my past, and use cinema for a collective endeavor to reclaim lost fragments of history and confront the haunting ghosts persisting in the darkness of societal silence.

In Association with ARTE France – LA LUCARNE & RTP1 / Supported by IDFA Bertha Fund, The Netherlands Film Fund, ICA – Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual, Berlinale World Cinema Fund, Filmfond Nord AS, SØRFOND - Norwegian Ministry of Foreign, Affairs Marrakech Film Festival - Atlas Workshops, Image/mouvement - CNAP, Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund / Selected for Berlinale Talents – Doc station 2019, La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut français 2020,  La Biennale di Venezia – 78th Venice International Film Festival – Final Cut in Venice 2021