Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today, at the IndieLisboa'12 (3/5)

First and foremost, a few words about yesterday's Lisbon Talks, as I anticipated it here, about the current state of affairs of the Portuguese cinema. Contrarily to Monday, there was no room from discussion or debate, as most of the questions, all well handled by Pedro Mexia, were too personal. The origin of the passion, academic or empiric background, what it feels to be a filmmaker for each of them and talking a little about some of their films, were the basic shots. Jorge Jácome on a very serene attitude had more to say about the context and the paradigms, certainly due to the investigation he endorsed. Filipe Melo, the funniest guy in the room, talked about how he learned by watching, how he still does and how he ever will - the greatest example was when he said he had no clue what was Pasolini's free indirect discourse but had nonetheless used the effect as a director. It was also good to hear such a young artist affirming proudly that his biggest influences are more George Romero and John Landis than properly Bergman - I love the Swedish director, I just mean it was very sincere because the Portuguese filmmaker has the tendency of trying to embellish his references, and I don't know why. Filipa Reis, very determined, had interesting points about the making of Cat Craddle (2012) and how she perceives the seventh art. Gabriel Abrantes was sharp on trying (eventually succeeding, I am not making that judgment here) to intellectualize every single thing you could say about films.

Today, in the same stance, a discussion about narratives at the light of the new media, with Manuel José Damásio (director of the Film, Video and Communication course at Universidade Lusófona), Possidónio Cachapa (writer, director, professor), Patrícia Gouveia (professor), Lewis Klahr (director) and Till Nowak (director, Delivery (2005)). For starters, I am seeing too little writers here, if we're going to talk about narratives.

 However, the major highlight is Alps (2011), which premiered last year at the Venice Film Festival. This is the first film by Yorgos Lanthimos after his worldwide success Dogtooth (2010), a bizarre story about a couple who hides and locks their kids from the streets, the society, the meaning of words and the understanding of their own body - a brilliant disturbing allegory to Plato's cave. It won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes, two awards at Stiges and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards.This one is written by the same team, himself and Efthymis Filippou, and the synopsis promises the same approach to the world, the same tone: a company which service is impersonating recently deceased people and reproduce their existence for their family and friends. Last year, IndieLisboa had Attenberg (2011), produced and stared by Lanthimos, with a resembling atmosphere, although in a (even) more ambiguous and unconventional narrative approach; this year, there's also L (2012), written by Efthymis, of the same nature. A chance we will look back in a few years from now and realize the festival assisted to the birth of one of the greatest modern cinematographies of the 21st century.

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