Interview with Lídia Jorge
Interview with Lídia Jorge (Author of A Costa dos Murmurios, book in which The Murmuring Coast is based on)
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
In part, this book is a retelling of actual memories even though some have been transfigured, voluntary and involuntarily; as always happens. I was a participant, whilst having the privilege to be an observer and moved by the situation of the Portuguese colonial dominance in Angola and Mozambique.
Is the book an entire fiction story or does it have some biographical details maybe from you or your family?
I was inspired by some facts that happened in Mozambique towards the end of the 60s, not necessarily my own personal stories but memories that were still very present when I lived in Beira. I refer mainly to the Nó Górdio Operation and the effects of which I personally experienced; the Massacre of Wiriamu. Both happened in the North of Mozambique. The story I tell in the book actually happened really close to me.
As a Portuguese, what is your opinion on the Mozambique independence process? How do you think your government dealt with the situation?
The independence of the former Portuguese colonies came too late, at a time when the situation was already tricky for both sides. The transition process included great disasters and terrible conflicts. However, I can't attack the Portuguese government as being guilty for what happened. We ourselves were living at a revolutionary time in Portugal and it was in that celebration we neglected the self-determination of the new countries of Africa.
How do you think the role of women has changed in Portugal from the 60s until now?
We are talking about Portugal, a Latin country based on a catholic culture. This means that improvements have been slow and that it is only relatively recently there are roles that should be shared. I would say that the women in Portugal in terms of graduation, education and ambitions of an active role in society are not far from the average European woman - but in terms of political representation and media? Yes.
Have some other books of you been adapted to films?
So far only this one. We always have many projects but they get stuck when it comes to funding. It would be great to have good news.
What's your opinion of Margarita Cardoso's adaptation of your book? Have you seen it? Did you like it?
I found her film really good. The scene with the killing of the birds is already said to be a classical piece of Portuguese cinema. Margarida Cardoso turned the book into a different object but overlaid it with the same hallucination, the same delusional memory and with a torrid truth offered softly. I liked it a lot, especially at a time when cinema often turns to blood and violence to create scenes.
When you created A Costa dos Murmurios we assume you gave faces to your characters in your mind, do the cast in the film look like you imagined the characters?
They are very different. When you write a work of fiction you know better the heart and the soul of its characters than the physiognomy, height or hair color. Then it comes to the theatre or the cinema and that imposition of the physical model is astonishing, imposing.