Others Will Love the Things I Loved: a tribute to Bénard da Costa
by Vitor Pinto
- Manuel Mozos has made a moving tribute to the iconic director of the Portuguese Film Museum, João Bénard da Costa
Over the last few decades, João Bénard da Costa, the programmer, critic, actor and, for 18 years, director of the Portuguese Film Museum, who passed away in 2009, had been one of the Portuguese film industry’s most indispensible figures. Director Manuel Mozos (4 Hearts) has now made a tribute to him that is as moving as it is unexpected in his new film, João Bénard da Costa – Others Will Love the Things I Loved.
Wisely resisting the urge to make a traditional biopic, Mozos has created a work about Bénard da Costa that, above and beyond telling his life story, allows us to feel the almost spiritual presence of a man and his obsessions.
The movie paints a personal portrait of an individual who, ever since his childhood, fed his intellectual greatness with the legacy of great works – painting and literature first of all, and subsequently films – and who later turned his passion for that legacy into a way of life.
This conceptual hybrid of a film includes images that Mozos shot in places that were very much present in Bénard da Costa’s life, such as the town of Sintra and the Arrábida Hills; a photographic montage; and above all, scenes from some of his favourite films that were unearthed in the archives, like Ordet by Carl Theodor Dreyer and Johnny Guitar by Nicholas Ray. All this content is enriched by texts written by Bénard da Costa himself (articles, reflections and memoirs), which are read out by his son in a voice that very closely resembles his father’s, adding to the sensation that the film is summoning the spirit of a man to look back on a life that he has already lost; as if a person built from legacies were now bequeathing the object he was most passionate about to the audience.
(Translated from Spanish)