Ninth Portuguese film festival goes to London, Liverpool and Bristol

The complicity between cinema and music marks the 9th edition of the Utopia festival of Portuguese cinema in the United Kingdom, which will have sessions in London, Liverpool and Bristol.

“The objective is to draw the attention of the viewer to the importance of music in the construction of cinematographic narratives, in the pleasure of cinephilia, to value and bring focus to the work of the composer and the professionals who build the soundtrack,” said the director of the festival, Érica Rodrigues.

The highlight of the program, which will run from October 30 to November 29, goes to the projection of ‘Lisbon, Crónica Anedótica’, Leitão de Barros, on November 3 at the Ciné Lumière, a room that is part of the Institute French, in London.

The Portuguese mute production will be accompanied live with original music composed by the British Neil Brand, who does this kind of work with the British Film Institute – the British Film Institute – and composed scores for films of the early twentieth century.

“Neil Brand already has an earlier relationship with the Portuguese silent film, the treasures of the ANIM (National Archives of Moving Images) archive, having done musical accompaniment to the piano at the Underscore Festival in 2017. From there, invite Neil Brand to return to enter into dialogue with the Portuguese film archive was a natural step and he accepted promptly, “said Érica Rodrigues.

‘Lisbon, Anecdotal Chronicle’ premiered in the capital on April 1, 1930, showing, between fiction and documentary, typical figures and environments of the city.

Still, in a silent record, the film had at the time original soundtrack composed by Frederico de Freitas, Juan Fabre and António Melo, illustrating musically episodes of the life of Lisbon.

The film also featured small humorous songs by Beatriz Costa, Vasco Santana, Eugénio Salvador, Adelina Abranches, Chaby Pinheiro, Alves da Cunha, Ester Leão, Teresa Gomes and Irene Isidro.

The festival starts on Tuesday with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Nobel Prize of José Saramago, when it will be projected ‘Embargo’, the adaptation to cinema by the Portuguese director António Ferreira in 2010 of the homonymous tale that is part of the work ‘Object Almost’.

The session, at King’s College London, coincides with the first of two days of an academic conference on the work of Saramago and Portuguese-speaking literature, will feature the actor Filipe Costa.

The same film will be presented on November 27 at the University of Liverpool, which will also show ‘The Factory of Nothing’, by Pedro Pinho, on November 1st.

Exhibited at the London Film Festival in 2017, it has a cast of professional and amateur actors and follows the lives of a group of workers trying to secure jobs through a collective self-management solution, and thus prevent closure of a factory.

‘The City Where I Grow Up’, a Portuguese-Brazilian co-production with Marília Rocha, who won the Kino Sound Studio Prize of the Portuguese Competition Jury, in the 2016 edition of the festival, will also be screened.

The film focuses on two women who meet in Brazil but while one of them “lives moments of discovery and enchantment with the new country where she wants to settle,” the other wants to return to Lisbon.

Co-star Francisca Manuel will attend the Nov. 4 session at FACT Liverpool, but the film will have a second screening at the Brazilian embassy in London on November 28.

The festival closes with the documentary ‘The Labyrinth of Saudade’, by Miguel Gonçalves Mendes, a cinematographic adaptation of the homonymous work of the philosopher Eduardo Lourenço, on November 29, at the University of Bristol.

The festival is funded by Instituto Camões and has the support of the Portuguese Embassy in the United Kingdom.

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