BD on emigration to France ‘Maria and Salazar’ arrives in Portugal

The comic strip “Maria e Salazar”, which tells the story of the emigration to France of thousands of Portuguese, will be launched at the BD festival in Amadora on November 3rd.

The book, which was released in France a year ago, is now edited in Portuguese by Octopus, and its author, French Robin Walter, will be in the Amadora BD, between November 3 and 5, where there will be an exhibition with planks originals of “Maria and Salazar”.

“The book was very well received by the press and the Portuguese community in France.” Many people were moved and told me that it was the story of their parents and grandparents. nomads who are between two countries, “the author told.

The BD tells the story of Maria, a Portuguese immigrant who arrived in Paris in 1972 and who was a “second mom” of Robin Walter.

“I was based on the course of Maria, who is a friend of the family and was for 30 years the maid of my parents and whom I and my brothers consider as a second mom.” When I wanted to talk about this, I asked her to she and her husband to tell me their stories, “Robin Walter recalled.

When his parents decided to sell the house where he grew up, in Champigny-sur-Marne, on the outskirts of Paris – a city where many Portuguese people live – Robin Walter wondered what was going to happen to Maria and decided to know more about what led this Portuguese to go to France, as well as so many thousands of Portuguese in the years 1960 and 1970.

The result was a graphic novel that has as its backdrop “the longest modern dictatorship in Western Europe,” but sought to remain true to the tone of the accounts he heard to avoid making “a dark comic book.”

Robin Walter opted for a biographical and autobiographical narration, in which he resumed his conversations with Maria and her husband, the testimonies of Portuguese descendants friends, the viewing of the documentaries of the filmmaker of the emigration José Vieira, the trips to the library and to the Museum of History of the Immigration in Paris.

“In the testimonies of Maria and her husband, although they spoke of the difficulties in Portugal, of the deprivations of liberty during Salazar, I did not feel a great rancour or revolt. There was a softness in its report, a nostalgia because Portugal continued being the Portugal of its youth – even aware of what Portugal was political – but there was this softness, maybe it was the famous saudade. At the tone level, I tried to convey that idea, “he said.

From the lives of Maria and Manuel, the author summed up the journey of so many thousands of Portuguese who went to France: the clandestine voyage “the jump”, the passage of the Portuguese bank van in the Champigny-Sur- Marne, the incomprehension of May 1968 for many Portuguese, the New State policy on emigration, the dream of returning to Portugal and “the end of the illusion”: “Over time, the country we left becomes the country where we will not be back. ”

“The testimonies of my friends have a number of points in common: parents or grandparents arrived in France in the 1960s, always for economic reasons, to escape misery.” For some of them, the fear of fighting in Angola or Mozambique was also a reason to flee over three-year military service, “reads the book.

“Maria e Salazar”, published in France by the publisher Des ronds dans l’O, on October 11, 2017, was at the Quai des Bulles comic book festivals in Saint-Malo, Angoulême and the BD Engagé Festival.

Robin Walter is the author of “KZ DORA” (2010 and 2012), two books on the deportation of resisters to the Nazi concentration camps, based on the story of his grandfather Pierre Walter. The designer also made a comic strip about football titled “Prolongations”.

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