Portuguese Avant-garde Cinema
+ Neil BrandOriginal composition & live piano accompaniment
These four gems from the Cinematheque’s stores set us off on a journey of discovery through the history of Portugal’s silent avant-garde cinema, complemented by the premiering of a boldly experimental new composition by pianist and composer Neil Brand. A regular with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Bologna film festival Il Cinema Ritrovato and the British Film Institute, Brand thus pays an outstanding tribute to Portuguese silent film on this final night of the festival. The performance will be divided into two contrasting parts, the first of which recreates, 86 years later, an iconic documentary session presented in Lisbon in 1931 on the occasion of the Fifth International Congress of Film Critics, a convention attended by such luminaries as Luigi Pirandello. Among the three films that make up this half, the first, by Manoel de Oliveira, franticly depicts the hustle and bustle of dock and riverside life around Porto’s Douro area, over a period of 24 hours: the crowds, the loading and unloading of goods, the river, the Dom Luís Bridge, the districts around. What’s more, Leitão de Barros and João de Almeida e Sá also provide us with two distinctively personal perspectives on the village of Nazaré and the capital city of Lisbon, with Alfama winning the Critics Prize in that same year of 1931. The second part is dedicated to Jorge Brum do Canto’s The Dance of the Paroxysms, a beautiful adaptation of a nordic tale that portrays characters and forest through a wonderfully original lens, using photography as a creative tool, and which is Portugal’s only silent approximation to French impressionist cinema. Unmissable. Duration: 120 min.
Working on the Douro RiverManoel de Oliveira, 1931, Portugal, 21 min
Nazaré, Fishermen’s BeachLeitão de Barros, 1929, Portugal, 16 min
Alfama, The Old LisbonJoão de Almeida e Sá, 1930, Portugal, 28 min
The Dance of the ParoxysmsJorge Brum do Canto, 1930, Portugal, 44 min
Partnership: Portuguese Cinematheque