At the center of this story is a woman felt only by her absence - in other words, a dream of a woman, perhaps symbolic of the lost dream for a post-independence Mozambique. Salomão owns a bar in Maputo, still down at the heels after the civil war, where the local machos drink and talk of soccer and women. He rather gruffly takes care of his adopted nephew Betinho, a war orphan. Some years before, a young woman, Julia, left him because he refused to let her work or study outside the house. Instead, she married Saide, the man next door. Nothing has been heard of her for months, but the sound of constant wife-beating comes from inside Saide's house.. When Salomão finally decides to put a stop to the beatings, he discovers that Julia left Saide long ago because he blamed her for his own sterility. The mock beatings were Saide's pathetic way of convincing the world he still had a wife. In this wry but pessimistic film, the men sense their machismo has driven away what they most desire but lack the strength to change. Salomão explains to Betinho that they are like the stars, cursed to look for their lost dream forever.
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