Portugal's cinema: The School of Reis and the 1980 generation


The legacy of the legendary Portuguese filmmakers António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro is the focus of the 13th edition of UNDERDOX. Two programmes, developed in collaboration with Miguel Valverde (Indielisboa Festival), present the traditions of Portuguese cinema after the dictatorship and their influence on the younger generation.

The School of Reis


Pedro Costa is the bridge figure between the generations. The director of O sangue (The Blood) (1989) and the Fontaínhas trilogy (1997-2005) created a highly cinematographic chiaroscuro in semi-fictional close-ups of the Cape Verdean immigrants and has been regarded as a pioneer of both poetic and political cinema ever since. Miguel Gomes' masterly crisis trilogy As Mil e Uma Noites (1001 Nights) (2015) or João Pedro Rodrigues' phantasmagoric Ornitólogo (The Ornithologist) (2016) followed.
Costa, Gomes and Rodrigues are students of the influential but in this country hardly known Portuguese filmmaker António Reis, who with his wife, the psychiatrist Margarida Cordeiro, created the most important works immediately after the Salazar dictatorship. Reis taught at the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema from 1977 until his death in 1991. The "School of Reis" (Haden Guest, Harvard Film Archive) and the unmistakable style of an ethnographic cinema were named after him, which produced narratively liberated hypnotic-suggestive iconographies that seem both sensual and radical.
João César Monteiro, who died in 2003, created an unusually sarcastic and socially critical work for Portugal after ethnographic films that had been made under the direct influence of Reis. For their part, Reis and Cordeiro had studied with Manuel de Oliveira and the founders of Cinema Novo, Fernando Lopes and Paolo Rocha, so that the glorious beginnings of Lusitanian cinema also had an impact on film-making today.

Portugal's Cinema I: The School of Reis. Films by António Reis, Margarida Cordeiro und João César Monteiro. Friday 12 Oct 6:30 p.m., Munich Filmmuseum
Attending: Miguel Valverde, Direktor von Indielisboa

The 1980 Generation

In the tradition of the Reis school, conveyed by the films of Pedro Costa, a new generation of filmmakers, all born in the 1980s, raises. The artist Salomé Lamas and the filmmaker Jorge Jácome, whose Flores (Flowers) is the most successful Portuguese short film of the year, work on the margins of documentary productions. Ico Costa returns with Nyo Vweta Nafta to Mozambique, where he spent a year of his life. His documentary portrait of the youth in Inhambane, filmed on 16mm, also subliminally reflects Portuguese colonialism. Marta Mateus' Farpões, Baldios (Barbes, Wastelands) is one of the most enchanting films of this new generation. She portrays life in her home region of Alentejo, which is characterised by drought and meagre poverty. After the Carnation Revolution, the peasants occupied the lands where they were once oppressed by their masters. The protagonists of the film are the very old revolutionary fighters, who pass on their spirit of resistance to the very young generation. Finally, Pedro Peralta and Ascensão (Ascension) stage an archetypal, biblical-mythological funeral fantasy that draws its visual power from a dark naturalism borrowed from painting.


Portugal's Cinema II: The 1980 Generation. Films by Salomé Lamas, Jorge Jácamo, Ico Costa, Marta Mateus und Pedro Peralta. Saturday 13 Oct 6:30 p.m., Munich Filmmuseum
Attending: Miguel Valverde, Direktor von Indielisboa