DokuFest will feature a selection of Portuguese films, curated by the founding member of Porto/Post/Doc: Film & Media Festival, Sergio Gomes.
Since the early sixties, Portuguese cinema has become one of the most mysterious and acclaimed national cinemas. Two reasons were fundamental: the freedom (from the market) to create and the artistry with which directors made their films. That’s why, in 1963, two great films were released: Acto da Primavera [Rite of Spring], by Manoel de Oliveira, and Os Verdes Anos [The Green Years], by Paulo Rocha. Both were, in radical different styles, portraits of different Portuguese geographies (Trás-os-Montes and Lisbon, respectively) and both were inventing a new cinema.
Almost all Portuguese author cinema since then has a creative debt of the freedom of those filmmakers, and those films are the model for a cinema where the real – whether in a straight fiction film or a strange hybrid – and its intensity are so heartily felt. The lesson of Oliveira and Rocha was followed by Fernando Lopes, António da Cunha Telles, Alberto Seixas Santos and others who shaped the Portuguese new wave.
But in the end of the seventies, another production shook the foundations of Portuguese cinema: a couple, António Reis and Margarida de Cordeiro, released Trás-os-Montes, a film without time about a remote region in the north of Portugal. That film – and the two others that followed – shaped a cinema without forms, but still so impregnated of the real. A documentary and a fiction, Trás-os-Montes goes back to ancestry times to talk about the modern Portugal.
All great contemporary Portuguese directors – Pedro Costa, Teresa Villaverde, Miguel Gomes, to name just a few – are sons of this cinema that defies definition. For us, they are, in fact, fictions of the real, because they deal with our reality, but they are always something more and profound: the soul of a people in its diversity.
This selection, therefore, considers Portuguese films widely acclaimed and part of Portuguese cinema history. They are fictions of the real, that is, films which consider the real as a place for creating stories and document changing landscapes. They are, also, portraits of a contradictory country and its history since the dictatorship which ended in the Carnation Revolution in April 1974.