Portugal Cinematography

By | January 13, 2022

The forties and fifties

According to topmbadirectory, the 1940s, characterized by a strong political and cultural isolation, represented the moment of greatest development for the Lisboet comedy genre, which was accompanied by the production of historical-patriotic films so dear to Ferro. In 1941 Lopes Ribeiro founded Produções António Lopes Ribeiro, which produced two successful musical comedies, O pai tirano (1941) by Lopes Ribeiro himself and O pátio das cantigas (1942) by his brother Francisco, as well as Aniki Bóbó (1942), first Oliveira’s feature film, which anticipates some neorealist elements, such as the poetics of the conflict between good and evil, typical of the Portuguese master. Also in 1942 Tobis produced Ala-arriba! by Barros. But the great successes that consecrated the Lisboetas comedies were the films of Duarte O Costa do castelo (1943), from the novel by J. Bastos, A menina da rádio (1944) and O leão da Estrela (1947) In 1944 Barros directed the historical film Inês de Castro (Don Pedro the Cruel), before a series of co-productions with Spain, in which he demonstrated his ability historical reconstruction of the environments and in directing the mass scenes, and two years later Camões – Erros meus, má fortuna, amor ardente (1946), another prestigious work, on the life of one of the most important Portuguese poets of all time, L. Vaz de Camões. But the real commercial triumphs of the 1940s were Capas negras (1947) by Armando de Miranda and Fado, historia d’uma cantadeira (1948) by José Perdigão Queiroga, both interpreted by the greatest Lusitanian fadist, Amália Rodrigues, also protagonist of the last Barros fiction film, Vendaval maravilhoso (1949), about the Brazilian poet A. de Castro Alves,

In 1945 the first film clubs were born, which in the following decade would have had a decisive importance for the birth of a new cinema. In 1948 the grant law for cinema was passed, which consecrated the role of the FCN. During the 1950s, the production, already poor from a qualitative point of view, began to be insufficient also from a quantitative point of view. In 1955 – the year in which the Radiotelevisão Portuguesa (RTP) was created – no feature films were produced, and only thirteen were made between 1956 and 1959. They were mostly historical-literary films, such as Frei Luís de Sousa (1950) by Lopes Ribeiro – first work funded by the FCN – from the play by JB da Silva Leitão de Almeida Garrett, A garça ea snake (1952) by Duarte, based on the novel by F. Costa, O cerro dos enforcados (1954) by Fernando Garcia, from the short story by JM Eça de Queirós, Chaimite (1953) by Brum do Canto, a film of colonialist exaltation. Also worthy of mention is the new adaptation of O primo Basílio (1959), the last work of Lopes Ribeiro, and Vidas sem rumo (1956) by Manuel Guimarães, much weaker than his previous works, namely Saltimbancos (1951) and Nazaré (1952), of clear neorealist inspiration.

The activity of the two driving forces was decisive, which throughout the 1950s prepared the affirmation of a new generation of directors: the film club movement and the new cinema magazines, with the intervention of specialized critics. In 1954 the Porto film club screened Aniki Bóbó, rediscovering the solitary work of Oliveira as the only valid testimony of the past Portuguese cinema. In those same years, the FCN began to set up scholarships, with the aim of training young directors abroad. Behind this operation was hidden the attempt to direct the new generation of directors to the service of the regime, which nevertheless failed: the Portuguese Cinema Nôvo marked the extinction of classical production in all its aspects, and practiced cinema as a rewriting of its own experience. of life.

The April Revolution

The revolution of April 25, 1974, which ended the dictatorial regime, also changed the cinema landscape. The end of censorship made it possible to distribute previously banned films by filmmakers such as Matos Silva, Seixas Santos, Reis, António Faria, Eduardo Geada. But the CPC, which had hitherto been characterized by the presence of directors intent on giving life to a highly intellectual cinema, lost its previous unity of purpose, and some members left, founding other cooperatives. At the end of the 1970s, after the experience of independent cooperatives ended, the IPC remained the main source of financing. From then on it was clearly defined who would undertake or continue an arthouse cinema and who a commercial cinema. Almost all the members of the CPC made documentaries of political intervention at that time, including As armas eo povo (1974), a collective work coordinated by Seixas Santos, in which the Brazilian Glauber Rocha also collaborated. Many foreign directors (among them the American Robert Kramer and the German Thomas Harlan) went to Portugal to film those historical moments. The attempted extreme left coup of 25 November 1975 marked the end of the revolution. Many documentaries recalled, in the following years, April 25, 1974 and the fall of the colonial empire, but also the exhaustion of the revolutionary euphoria. Deus, pátria, autoridade (1976) and Bom povo português (1981) by Rui Simões were distinguished by the rigor with which they faced the question of the low participation of the people in Portuguese history; A lei da terra (1977), another collective work coordinated by Seixas Santos, tackled the themes of class struggle in the countryside, land occupation and agrarian reform in a different perspective from the current one; Gestos e fragmentos – Ensaio sobre os militares eo poder (1982) by Seixas Santos, never released in Portuguese cinemas and which has R. Kramer among its protagonists, shows all the depth of a careful critical analysis of the 1974 revolution, in carrying out which the director expresses the need to seek the truth starting from the images of the events that took place. But the political themes were also manifested in some fiction films: Os demónios de Alcácer Quibir (1977) by Fonseca and Costa, an allegory on the struggles of the peasants but also on the nostalgia of the former colonies; A santa aliança (1977) by Geada, portrait of the upper class and its attempt to maintain class privileges; A Fugue (1977) by Luís Filipe Rocha, on the path of an anti-fascist prisoner, from trial to escape; Nós por cá todos bem (1978) by Lopes, in which the filmmaker revisits his region of origin in the aftermath of the revolution; A confederação – O povo è que faz a história (1978) by Luís Galvão Teles, in which he imagines a Portugal dominated by the American colossus; Manhã submersa (1980), the first film by the critic Lauro António, from the novel by V. Ferreira, in which intolerance and repression of the years of Salazarism are told through the experience of a young seminarian; Oxalá (1981) by AP Vasconcelos, in which the director takes stock of the revolution and its failures; Cerromaior (1981) by LF Rocha, from the novel by MD da Fonseca, set in the 1930s; Balada da praia dos cães (1987) by Fonseca and Costa, from the novel by J. Cardoso Pires, full of allusions to fascism, but the most exciting films were those that expressed the melancholy caused by the failure of 25 April and its ideals as Trás -os-Montes (1976) by Reis and his wife Margarida Cordeiro (former assistant to sound and editing in Jaime), a poetic journey into the timeless reality of a poor and abandoned province, which represented one of the most lucid views on post-revolutionary Portugal ; or the two films by actor and theater director Jorge Silva Melo, Passagem – Ou a meio caminho (1980), centered on the life of the German writer G. Büchner, and Ninguém duas vezes (1985). With the closure of the CPC (1978) and the other independent cooperatives, we witnessed the institutionalization of auteur cinema, which from that moment was financed by the state, by television and – thanks to the producer Paulo Branco – by co-productions with France, which guaranteed a more regular production rate. There was talk of a Portuguese film school, made up of filmmakers such as Reis, Cordeiro, Campos, Monteiro, Seixas Santos, Silva Melo, José Álvaro Morais, João Botelho. In various European countries, specific reviews on Lusitanian cinema began to be organized, which appeared to be characterized not only by a strong intellectual and historical content, but also by an artisanal practice born from the need to convert

Portugal Cinematography