01 MAY — 11 MAY 2024

01 MAY — 11 MAY 2024

National Competition: made up of several comebacks and a handful of newcomers

The National Competition presents a luxurious line-up of 6 feature films, 3 medium-length films and 16 short films, with several directors returning to the festival and a handful of newcomers.

In Astrakan 79, by Catarina Mourão, a middle-aged man recalls his one and a half year stay in the Soviet Union, in 1979, sent by his parents, militants of the Communist Party. On the way he became a clandestine and left behind a great passion, his studies and ideals.

After winning the Best Portuguese Feature Film Award at IndieLisboa 2021 with No Táxi do Jack, Susana Nobre returns to the festival with Cidade Rabat, a melancholic comedy about Helena, who, at forty, feels caught between family responsibilities and the bureaucracy of her job as a film producer. When her mother dies, Helena sadly realises that she is halfway between the beginning and the end of life, and this awakens a new youth in her.

India, Telmo Churro’s feature film debut, focuses on the relationship between three generations of men (Tiago and his father, Raul, and his son, Manuel) and Karen, a melancholic Brazilian tourist who writes letters to her late husband. Together they follow a journey between dreams, lost glories and catastrophes, to find a disgraced hero who disappeared many centuries ago on a South Atlantic island.

The myth that “Portugal is not a racist country” is explored by Marta Pessoa in Rosinha and Other Wild Animals. In 1934, a colonial exhibition brought to the gardens of the Crystal Palace, in Oporto, the recreation of the indigenous villages and “specimens” of the peoples that inhabited them. Rosinha came with her from Guinea and is present in various films and official images. But who is Rosinha? Throughout this documentary, the history of Portuguese fascist propaganda appears like a dark mirror that we find it hard to look into.

First Age, by Alexander David, is set on an isolated island, where an autonomous community of children who do not speak live, communicating only by gestures. Guided by the eldest among them, they function as an agrarian community with strict rules and beliefs. Adults are banished to the surrounding woods, and every year, the oldest member of the village is sent to jump off a cliff – a ceremony they believe confers eternal youth on the chosen one.

The last feature film in the national competition is the diptych Bad Living | Living Bad, by João Canijo. Just back from the Berlinale, Bad Living follows the family that runs a decadent hotel on the north coast of Portugal. The relationship between these women only worsens with the arrival of their granddaughter, who brings up years of simmering resentment. Living Bad focuses on the hotel guests over a weekend – responsibilities, betrayals and deceit. Three families live out melodramas under Canijo’s magnifying glass.

Another highlight is Dildotectonics, by Tomás Paula Marques, about creating a collection of ceramic dildos that are not phallic. André Gil Mata returns to IndieLisboa with The Damned Yard, an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story Um Fratricida, about two brothers and the limits of brotherly love. In Carmen Troubles, Vasco Araújo deconstructs the stereotype of the gypsy woman represented in George Bizet’s Carmen. The twins Afonso and Bernardo Rapazote give the world premiere of The Fever of Maria João, a drama set in the 19th century, lived in a single acting space, full of secrets that the film skilfully unravels.

The complete line-up can be consulted on the section’s page.

IndieLisboa’s 20th edition will start on April 27 and it will be at Cinema São Jorge, Culturgest, Cinemateca Portuguesa, Cinema Ideal, Cinema Fernando Lopes and Penha de França Swimming Pool until May 7.