Sei Lá, the new film by Joaquim Leitão, hits screens
by Vitor Pinto
- The film adaptation of the 1990s bestseller is seeking to be as successful on screen as the book was on paper
In the 1990s, Joaquim Leitão was one of the film directors with the greatest influence on a national level, thanks to the box-office smashes Adão e Eva and Tentação, productions by Tino Navarro (MGN) that were supported and promoted by private television channel SIC. During the first decade of the 21st century, movies such as 20,13 - Purgatory (see news) and A Esperança Está Onde Menos Se Espera, both also produced by Navarro, did not manage to make such a big impact. Today, the director and the producer are returning to screens with Sei Lá [+see also:
film profile], a clearly commercial and feminine film that is being distributed by Zon Lusomundo and is seeking to regain the stray audience.
The controversial Margarida Rebelo Pinto, author of the novel of the same name that was published in 1999, has written the screenplay of a story that revolves around a group of four girlfriends – played by Leonor Seixas, Patricia Bull, Ana Rita Clara and Gabriela Barros – who talk amongst themselves about how much they suffer because of men, and how much they love and hate them at the same time. But still they cannot live without them, those beings who are as incomprehensible as they are unavoidable, played here by TV stars Antonio Pedro Cerdeira and Pedro Granger, and by Spanish actor David Mora. An entire fictional universe in the style of Sex and the City has been created for a film set in the rich and elitist Lisbon of the late 1990s, a period when the only crises that Portuguese society was going through were emotional ones.
If the public reacts as positively to the film as it did to the novel following its publication, Sei Lá could become a prime example of a bestseller being successfully transformed into a box-office smash. At the same time, if the film critics react as negatively as the literary critics did, Sei Lá could also be remembered as one of the least popular of Joaquim Leitão’s works.
Sei Lá is the sixth Portuguese co-production to be premiered in 2014, and it is hoped that it will compete with Eclipse em Portugal in the ranking of this year’s most successful national films. That movie, directed by Alexandre Cebrian Valente and Edgar Alberto, and released on 20 February, has proven to be the most-seen Portuguese production of the year so far, with (only) 11,700 admissions and €60,200 in takings, according to figures announced by the ICA.
(Translated from Spanish)
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