Country Focus: Portugal
Portuguese cinema’s spring
by Vitor Pinto
- Although we will have to wait until April to see Tabu [+see also:
interview: Miguel Gomes
interview: Miguel Gomes
film profile] by Miguel Gomes, which won two awards in Berlin and is one of the most awaited Portuguese films this year, in March we will already be able to enjoy the feature films of three very different Portuguese directors, with Florbela by Vicente Alves do Ó, Em Câmara Lenta by Fernando Lopes, and A Vingança de uma mulher by Rita Azevedo Gomes.
On March 8, Florbela [+see also:
film profile] will be released, coinciding with International Women’s Day. In his second feature film, Vicente Alves do Ó tackles one of the greatest figures of twentieth-century Portuguese literature, writer and poetess Florbela Espanca. Instead of a traditional biography retracing the landmarks of her life, this production by Pandora Cunha Telles (Ukbar Filmes) concentrates on a period of Florbela’s life in which she could not write and, bored with her life as a provincial housewife, decided to go to Lisbon. There she joins her brother - and lover - and embarks on a bohemian lifestyle in search of inspiration. Dalila Carmo (photo) plays the writer “with a thirst of the infinite”. She acts opposite the always impressive Ivo Canelas as her brother, and Albano Jerónimo as her husband.
As with Mysteries of Lisbon [+see also:
film profile], by Raúl Ruiz and Blood of my Blood [+see also:
film profile] by João Canijo, Alves do Ó’s film will also be a television series called Perdidamente Florbela (lit. “Hopelessly Florbela”), to include several aspects that were ignored in the film. Meanwhile, Florbela, the film, will be released not only in cinemas but also on a parallel tour of cinema clubs and libraries all over the country. This is the director’s choice, and an attempt to fight against both a scarcity of cinemas in the capital as well as generally limited periods in the box office for local productions. Two years ago, director João Botelho adopted a similar strategy with Disquiet, a film largely inspired by the work of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.
Also on March 8, Leonardo Filmes will release Em câmara lenta, a Paulo Branco (Clap Filmes) production that marks the return of veteran director Fernando Lopes two years after Os Sorrisos do Destino [+see also:
film profile]. As with the latter, his new film is to star Rui Morisson. The screenplay, by Rui Cardoso Martins, is inspired by the homonymous novel by writer and lawyer Pedro Reis, a book Lopes had described as “an asteroid, rare and surprising, in Portuguese literature”. As a bonus to the 71 minutes of Em câmara lenta, audiences will be treated to short film O Dia Mais Feliz da Tua Vida by Adriano Luz, an actor known, among other acheivements, for his participation in Misteries of Lisbon and who is currently filming As Linhas de Torres, the project on which Raúl Ruiz was working when he died and one that was then taken up again by Valeria Sarmiento, partner of the departed Chilean filmmaker.
Finally, on March 29 A Woman’s Revenge [+see also:
interview: Rita Azevedo Gomes
film profile] by Rita Azevedo Gomes will be released. This production by CRIM Produçoes, that will also distribute the film in Medeia Cinemas (owned by Paulo Branco), is an adaptation of a short story from Les Diaboliques (1874) by Barbey d'Aurevilly, and was screened last January at the Rotterdam Film Festival (news).