A little less than a month from the beginning of yet another edition of IndieLisboa the full programme is now unveiled. There will be 276 films in 9 sections and special screenings that will make up for this 18th edition, the second year in a row taking place in the middle of summer, from August 21 to September 6.
In a year as important as this one, with the festival reaching adulthood, IndieLisboa returns to the theatres affirming the promotion of voices that cross over its sections, languages. The open-air cinema sessions are also back this year, adding to the usual festival venues – Cinema São Jorge, Culturgest, Cinema Ideal and Cinemateca Portuguesa – the Jardim Biblioteca Palácio Galveias, where we can watch cinema on a screen with the sky as its background. Also at the Cinemateca’s Terrace, which will remain open during the month of August, films can be watched almost every night.
From the retrospective of filmmaker and poet Sarah Maldoror’s masterful body of work, pioneer of African cinema, to the expansive imaginary perpetuated in IndieJúnior and through films to be watched on warm nights illuminated by the last quarter moon in Mouth of Madness, the festival always celebrates the most distinct of gazes, engaging them in conversation. The same can be said of this year’s National Competition. There are 4 feature films and 19 short films. On the one hand, there are young and irreverent viewpoints, on the other, there’s the affirmation of talent.
In the feature films, we can find Granary Squares, the first feature film of Gonçalo Lamas, a world premiere of a documentary that attempts to test structuralist film tropes with digital means, through the meandering gaze of a made-up surveillance camera into the heart of London’s revamped King’s Cross district. Rock Bottom Riser, a vibrant film-essay, follows along. Created with images of a volcano in Hawaii, it touches upon themes such as geology, ethnography and astronomy. The first feature film of the Luso-American Fern Silva, which enchanted the Berlinale, the IFFR and came out winning a prize at Cinéma du Réel. The filmmaker’s work had already been in competition at IndieLisboa with his short film Notes from a Bastard Child. Also a first feature film, Simon Calls, by Marta Sousa Ribeiro, explores the labyrinth that is adolescence, and the emotional frustration that goes alongside it, felt within the film’s temporal management. It had its world premiere at the last edition of San Sebastián’s Festival. Completing this selection of daring, but felt gazes, we find Jack’s Ride, by the prodigious Susana Nobre, a kind of road movie, where we meet a 60-year-old man, a former emigrant one step away from retirement, but bound to respect his employment centre’s red tape so that he can be covered by the government’s benefits. Behind the wheel of a taxi, and after coming back from the USA, he comes across a democratic Portugal, post-Carnation Revolution. It was one of the most celebrated films at the last Berlinale’s Forum section.
In the short films – 13 with world premieres –, a game of references and a tribute to director Jacques Demy stands out in Um Quarto na Cidade, by João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata; a delicate film about the touching connection between grandmother and grandson in Boa Noite, by Catarina Ruivo; the beautiful Transportation Procedures for Lovers, by Helena Estrela, a synesthetic experience that mediates on what are the best methods of getting closer to those you love; a kaleidoscopic film about what it is to look in 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, by Ana Vaz; the much celebrated, profoundly shocking The Shiftby Laura Carreira, winner of the Venice Short Film Nomination for the European Film Awards 2020, and Tracing Utopia, by Catarina de Sousa and Nick Tyson, a virtual journey through the dreams and desires of a group of queer teenagers from New York. There are also fun proposals by Diogo Lima, Os Últimos Dias de Emanuel Raposo, a mockumentary about a fictitious presenter of the Azorean television, Garças, a film about a girl’s life after a painful nose operation, by Gabriela Nemésio Nobre, or even still a journey inside the rural landscape of Portugal by Daniel Soares, in What Remains, among so many others.
Also to be disclosed is the programme of the section Brand New, which shows the first steps of young filmmakers. 13 films within the realms of not only documentary, fiction, animation but also experimental cinema. Miraflores, by Rodrigo Braz Teixeira, an analysis of innocence and what will come in the future, Party Tattoos, a documentary by Teresa Sandman in the first-person that focuses on the celebration of past birthdays, Azul e Prata, by João Coroa Justino, a film that is the culmination of seven years of filming, capturing the details and the big picture, and creating from there a symphony of images, and Noctur, by Ana Vala, in which a camera that wanders the urban streets at night gives out an alien quality to the shown territory.
Closer attention should be given to this year’s special sessions:
This year’s opening film, shown on August 21 in the Manoel de Oliveira screening room at Cinema São Jorge, will kickstart the new edition of the festival under the sign of Summer of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised), the portentous documentary directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, known as the drummer for The Roots, about a forgotten 1969 music festival. A cultural Harlem, a black Woodstock. And a felt see-you-later after one more edition, with two almost simultaneous sessions of Paraíso, Sérgio Tréfaut’s most recent film, shown on September 6 at the Culturgest, a film that pays tribute to a group of elderly people who used to meet up every day at the public gardens of the Palácio do Catete, in Rio de Janeiro, an activity that was forcefully stopped by the coronavirus pandemic. There’s a documentary about the figure of Nuno Portas, one of the great Portuguese urban planners – The City of Nuno Portas, by Teresa Prata and Humberto Kzure -, a look at the intimate writing of the artist couple Maria Helena Vieira da Silva and Árpád Szenes – Vieirapad, by João Mário Grilo -, a meeting between the artist Welket Bungué and Joacine Katar Moreira, an independent parliamentary member – Upheaval, directed by actor Welket Bungué -, and O Princípio, o Meio, o Fim e o Infinito, a film by Pedro Coquenão, a multidisciplinary artist – signs with the name Batida – where he places two beings, with faces wrapped in gauze and clearly out of their own Time and Space, reflecting about colonialism, social inequality and other key topics.
It’s equally important to highlight the 5L and Cinema Programme, the result of a partnership with the new Literary Festival of the city of Lisbon, Lisboa 5L, that puts together five films, masterpieces of cinema, wherein the adaptation, interpretation, transformation or documentation of the five literary dimensions are presented within the cinematic realm. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Stanley Kubrick, is a tale. The Color of Pomegranates, by Sergei Parajanov, poetry. Henry IV, by Marco Bellocchio, theatre. Fahrenheit 451, by François Truffaut, a romance. Death in Venice, by Luchino Visconti, a novel.
In what it comes to the activities aimed exclusively at professionals, the Lisbon Screenings programme is announced, sessions where new just finished or yet to be finished Portuguese films are currently looking for a world or international premiere. In the new features, there are films by Inês Oliveira, Ana Sofia Fonseca e José Filipe Costa. In the shorts, there are films by Diogo Baldaia, Ágata de Pinho, Falcão Nhaga, José Manuel Fernances, Pedro Neves Marques, among others.
Of the projects that have found a world or international premiere last year at the Lisbon Screenings are the feature films A Távola de Rocha, by Samuel Barbosa, which will have its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival, in the Histoire (s) du Cinéma, and will be a part of this year’s programme, in the Director’s Cut section, and Granary Squares, by Gonçalo Lamas, world premiere at this year’s IndieLisboa’s National Competition. Among the short films, Boa Noite, by Catarina Ruivo, Cabra Cega, by Tomás Paula Marques, and What Remains by Daniel Soares, that will have their world premieres at this year’s IndieLisboa’s National Competition.
Lisbon Screenings are an organization of Portugal Film – International Agency of Portuguese Cinema, and are held during IndieLisboa.
The festival will continue until September 8 with additional sessions at Cinema Ideal, where award-winning film sessions will take place, and at the Cinemateca Portuguesa, with film screenings belonging to the retrospective of Sarah Maldoror.
Full programme and tickets will be available from August 5 onward.