A Costa Dos Murmuriosenlarge
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- A Festival of Portuguese Film, 8-9 February, 2008
featuring a New Generation of Portuguese Film-Maker
Friday, 8 February, at 8.15 p.m.
Directed by Margarida Cardoso, 2004, (115 minutes), in Portuguese with English subtitles
Introduced by Dr Maria Manuel Lisboa, and the director was present for a Q and A
Saturday, 9 February, at 3.00 p.m.
Directed by Teresa Villaverde, 1998, (110 minutes), in Portuguese with English subtitles
Saturday, 9 February, at 8.00 p.m.
Directed by Pedro Costa, 1997, (96 minutes), in Portuguese with English subtitles
Friday, February 8, 8:15pm
Murmuring Coast (A Costa Dos Murmurios) 
Murmuring Coast (A Costa Dos Murmurios, 2004, 115 min.) is the first feature-length work by Margarida Cardoso (born 1963), a director better known for her documentaries. Its screenplay is a free adaptation of the Portuguese author Lídia Jorge's novel of the same name. Murmuring Coast is hard to classify: it is neither a typical war film, nor a mere feminist take on war, nor simply a mystery or a drama. It is a little of all of these genres, and at the same time belongs completely to none of them: it is unique. An African colonial city, Lourenço Marques; a hotel filled with military personnel and their families; a distant war, which is, however, very present. In the director's own words, she wanted to depict 'the routine and hypocritical normality of a forgotten country living its forgotten war. These were perilous and extremely violent times, of a violence that was almost domestic, that was (and still is ...) brought down on the weak: women, blacks, animals". It is the violence of a colonial age, which refuses to go quietly.
Synopsis: At the end of the 1960s, Evita arrives in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique to marry Luís, a mathematics student on military service. Evita soon realizes that Luís has changed, and in the turmoil of the war, has transformed himself into a pale imitation of his commanding officer, Forza Leal. The men leave for a major military offensive in the north of the country. Evita is left alone, wandering around the city, where she gradually realises how violence changes men ... and also her husband, Luís. She seeks the company of Helena, Forza Leal's wife. Helena, submissive and humiliated, is a prisoner in her own house where she is fulfilling a promise. And she is the one who shows Luís's dark side to Evita, as she tries to draw her into an ambiguous relationship under the shadow of destruction and death.
Saturday, February 9, 3:00pm
The Mutants (Os Mutantes) 
Teresa Vilaverde's punchy, rather Loach-ian, The Mutants (Os Mutantes,1998, 110 min.) tells us the story of teenagers abandoned by the Portuguese juvenile care system to a life on the streets. The Mutants examines the lives of Pedro, Ricardo and Andreia - three kids in their early teens who have rejected life in juvenile homes or with foster families to take their chances on their own. They drift into petty crime and are exploited by sexual predators. The two boys end up working in a pornographic film, while Andreia becomes pregnant. The Mutants was filmed with a largely non-professional cast. Director Teresa Villaverde (born 1966) had originally planned to make a documentary about homeless children. But when government authorities refused to co-operate, she used her research as the basis for this screenplay, giving many of the children she met in her travels roles in the film. For all its crude power, the film had an immediate impact in Portugal, where it inspired nationwide debate over reform of the nation's youth authorities.
Synospsis: Andreia, Pedro and Ricardo refuse to accept the world as it is. They don't seem to fit anywhere. But they don't give up, they go on looking, projecting a palpable force that spreads everywhere, threatens to explode. They are bursting with the energy and determination to change things, to live a different life. They do not see why they should accept the role others have assigned them. They just won't play the game, yet there is no other role for them. They are survivors, mutants. They happen to live in Portugal, but mutants like them exist everywhere. The world might wish they didn't exist, but exist they do. And in this tale they dream, weep, laugh, have children, die and take flight.
Saturday, February 9, 8:00pm
Bones (Ossos) 
Bones (Ossos, 1997, 96 min.) is the first film of the renowned trilogy of Bones (1997), In Vanda's Room (2000) and Colossal Youth (2006) by the critically acclaimed Portuguese avant-garde director Pedro Costa (born 1959). Since his first feature film, Blood (1989), Costa's work has been championed by various film critics, artists as far-reaching as Jacques Rivette and Jeff Wall, and savoured by increasing numbers of cinephiles around the world. His work has been extensively discussed in Cahiers du Cinéma, Artforum and Film Comment. The premiere of his masterful Colossal Youth at the Cannes International Film Festival in May 2006 redoubled interest in his work almost everywhere. Costa's work is considered by many to be on the very edge of the cutting edge. Here in the United Kingdom, by contrast, Costa's films have barely received an introduction. Costa's work demands the viewer's rapt attention in order to appreciate his dark Vermeer-like perception of people and places on the outer fringes of society. The very souls of his actors, most of them non-professionals, are laid bare on the screen, and moments of beauty and pathos strike like lightning in a dark sky. Strange personal monologues and faces sculpted by light but etched by experience tell powerful stories of struggle and loss beyond what any screenwriter could devise. Because of this, Costa's work has been labelled humanist - and it is, in the purest sense of the word.
Synopsis: Bones, the film we are screening, gives us a very stark picture of impoverished youth in the shantytowns of Lisbon. In recent years Costa has shot almost exclusively in one of these slums, working closely with its inhabitants. Staking out a radical middle between documentary and fiction, he has invented a form of Arte Povera, a monumental cinema of humble means. Bones is an example of this. It tells us the story of a baby born to a suicidal teenage mother, whose equally young, blank-faced father uses the child as a prop for begging and tries to sell it: first, to a nurse, then to a prostitute. About Bones, Jacques Rivette has said: "I think it is magnificent, I think that Costa is genuinely great. It's beautiful and strong." To what Jonathan Romney, the Guardian film critic, added: Bones is "a genuine overlooked masterpiece", "an example of national cinema that is accomplished and hard-edged."
The College is grateful for the support of Instituto Camões (IC), Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual (ICA), St John's College, Cambridge, and the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages.