A Guerra da Beatriz (In Distribution)

FairTrade Films is committed to building a viable film industry and culture in Timor Leste. Past films include East Timor’s first locally produced feature film, A Guerra da Beatriz, a powerful love story spanning the years 1975 – 2009.

A Guerra Da Beatriz was written by Irim Tolentino, an award winning Timorese author, and Luigi Acquisto. Dili Film Works founder, Bety Reis, co-directed the film. Lurdes Pires and Stella Zammataro produced.

The cast featured Jose Da Costa as Tomas. Jose is East Timor’s most experienced actor. He played major roles in Answered by Fire and Balibo.

The Setting

A Guerra da Beatriz is a love story inspired by a true 16th century French story about Bertrande de Rols and her husband Martin Guerre. In this adaptation the story has been transposed to East Timor on the eve of the Indonesian invasion of the Portuguese colony.

The Story

The film starts in September 1975 with the wedding of Beatriz and Tomas, two eleven year-old children, in a small mountain village in the heart of Timor.

The children’s families want to consolidate their power and wealth to exploit the fruits of a much hoped for independence. Several months later, following the Indonesian invasion of Timor, Beatriz and Tomas, along with hundreds of others from the village, flee to the mountains.  They are captured in 1979 and resettled in the village of Kraras.

Beatriz and Tomas grow to love each other and in 1983 they are preparing for the arrival of their first child. Beatriz gives birth to a son.  His life is threatened when Indonesian soldiers massacre every male in the village, over two hundred children and men, in retribution for an attack by the Timorese resistance. Beatriz flees and manages to sve her son, but her husband, Tomas, disappears.  Beatriz unable to find Tomas’s body desperately holds onto the hope that he has somehow escaped and will return.

Tomas returns sixteen years later following East Timor’s independence. He had fled to the mountains and fought with the resistance. It is a passionate and moving reunion.  Beatriz discovers a different man to the boy who left her years earlier.  Tomas is now wiser, gregarious and loving.  He has learnt much from life and war.

But, as time passes, Beatriz makes a chilling discovery. She becomes convinced that Tomas is an impostor, that she has mistaken a stranger for her husband.  Who is this man? Why has he taken on a new identity? Tomas’s sisters and family accuse Beatriz of treachery, of being mad. But she is determined to discover the truth.

A Guerra da Beatriz is the haunting, passionate story of one woman’s conviction to remain true to the man she loves and the country for which she fought.  This powerful story confronts the issues at the heart of modern East Timor: forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice.


FairTrade Films is committed, through its charter, to an equitable and ethical working relationship with its East Timorese partners. The film will be produced through FairTrade Films and Dili Film Works, a Dili based company with Timorese directors. Profits will be shared between investors and Dili Film Works to finance training and future development and productions.

The finished film had a gala premiere screening in Dili, has toured East Timor’s districts, been entered into prestigious film festivals, won top prize the prestigious Golden Peacock award for ‘Best Film’ at the 44th International Film Festival of India. The film will also be presented at film and television markets and be available for sale on the Internet and as a DVD.  A theatrical distributor has also been sourced to secure a cinema release.

A Guerra da Beatriz will be the first in a succession of exciting East Timorese films that tell the story of the nation through the eyes of Timorese writers, directors and producers.  Most importantly it will contribute to a sense of nationhood by identifying themes and histories that unite rather than fragment the Timorese people.

If you would like to know more about the film or purchase a copy please contact:

Stella Zammataro


Tel +61 3 9417 1864