According to the organisation, the “cycle is an invitation to a journey to a universe where the fantastic, the legendary, and the historical intertwine. For the delight of the amateur of historical genres, as well as the general public.” The exhibition includes the screening of 23 feature films and a special session of national short films, with the presence of directors João Pedro Rodrigues and Rita Azevedo Gomes. It also includes a workshop for children where a medieval scriptorium will be recreated and where the participants “will be able to reproduce some of the most beautiful initial letters that we can find in Portuguese medieval manuscripts, as well as try the scribes’ handwriting”.
One of the criteria for the selection of the works was the aesthetic and thematic relevance of the films chosen, which led to the inclusion of works by some of the great directors in the history of cinema, such as Fritz Lang, Carl Theodor Dreyer, or Youssef Chahine. Another important criterion was the avoidance of eurocentrism and, therefore, there are films from 20 different countries, including from Asia, Africa and America. Furthermore, as the organisation highlights, through “the approach of the topics in the selected films, it is also intended to analyse the presence of the Middle Ages in cinema in the light of important issues and challenges for contemporary society, among which those of gender, religion, or politics”.
The opening session, at 7pm on 2 December, will feature the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail“, directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones – “a parody of medieval films such as none before or since cinema has ever known”. The full programme of the cycle is available here.