In collaboration with Linha de Sombra bookshop, and associated with the short film The Pioneers of Cinema in Portuguese Language, by Luísa Sequeira, we launch the book Realizadoras Portuguesas: Cinema no Feminino na Era Contemporânea, by Mariana Liz and Hilary Owen.
The history of Portuguese women directors’ cinema only began systematically after 1974. This book, which brings together texts by researchers based in the UK, the US and Portugal, discusses films by 14 female directors, considering the fiction and documentary cinema produced in the last 50 years in Portugal. The texts collected here map the cinematic visions that these authors brought to Portuguese cinema following the April 25th Revolution and decolonisation in Africa, and how they have contributed to its internationalisation. In this “feminine cinema” we witness both a new conceptualisation of national cinema through, for example, the ethnographic films produced at the end of the 1970s, and the exploration of markedly gendered interventions around the male world of the colonial wars.
From the 1990s onwards, feminist political issues, such as the campaign around the decriminalisation of abortion and the new status for the LGBTQIA+ community, alongside various concerns related to global problems, such as migration and the situation of minority communities, also come to the fore. The texts in this book also show how female directors have contributed to the evolution of cinematographic language, from the work developed in sound composition to the genre of the cinema-essay, from the cinematographic relationship with the archive to the adaptation of the written word. With a preface by Lídia Jorge, the book results in a powerful challenge to the marginalization of Portuguese women directors’ cinema as a double minority cinema, exploring in a positive way the various iron circles that these authors have been breaking.