Venice: Montanha to compete in the Critics’ Week
by Vitor Pinto
- In João Salaviza’s highly anticipated feature debut, adolescence is a mountain to climb
Portuguese director João Salaviza’s Montanha [+see also:
interview: João Salaviza
film profile] (“Mountain”) is one of the seven titles competing in the International Critics’ Week of the 72nd Venice Film Festival (2-12 September).
Written by the 31-year-old director himself, Salaviza’s feature debut is a coming-of-age tale that continues - with apparent fascination - to explore adolescent characters. He has already done so in his previous short films, particularly in Rafa.
In Montanha, 14-year-old David (David Mourato) awaits the imminent death of his grandfather, but refuses to visit him, fearing the terrible loss. Meanwhile, his mother, Mónica (Maria João Pinho), spends her nights at the hospital. The void already left by his grandfather forces David to become the man of the house, where he lives with his three-year-old sister. David does not feel ready to assume this new role, but without realising it, the more he tries to avoid adulthood, the closer he gets to it…
The film also stars newcomer Cheyenne Domingues alongside Rodrigo Perdigão, who played the lead role in Rafa. Norberto Lobo is behind the soundtrack.
Shot in late 2013 in Olivais, an overpopulated neighbourhood of Lisbon, with post-production taking place in France during 2014, Montanha is a co-production between Portugal (Filmes do tejo II) and France (Les films de l’après-midi). Pyramide International is managing the world sales.
Salaviza is one of the most prominent names among the young generation of Portuguese filmmakers. He first caught the industry’s eye in 2009, when his first short, Arena, won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Three years later, another short, Rafa, received the Golden Bear at the Berlinale. Along with Arabian Nights [+see also:
interview: Miguel Gomes
film profile], Montanha was one of the most eagerly awaited Portuguese titles of 2015. Local theatrical distribution is yet to be announced.