Leonor Areal claims to have found rare moving images of the poet Fernando Pessoa in a silent film from 1913, digitised by the Portuguese Cinematheque, in which people are seen leaving a concert at the former Teatro República, now the Teatro Municipal São Luiz, in Lisbon.
Through the film-essay Where is Pessoa?, written and directed by the IHC researcher, we follow Areal’s journey through the meticulous analysis of the centenary tape, along with the findings, doubts, and hypotheses she puts forward — an almost detective-like journey where, in the midst of the crowd of people leaving the theatre, we are led to look for Fernando Pessoa. Along the way, we discover other personalities of the time, such as Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, António Ferro, António Silva, Augusto Ferreira Gomes, Eduardo Viana, Ernesto Vieira, Florbela Espanca, Jorge Barradas, or Stuart Carvalhais — who take us back to the society and experiences of the generation that marked modernism in Portugal.
Speaking to Lusa News before the premiere of the film last June, Leonor Areal said that “of course there’s no science that guarantees this, but I have this conviction and I give the viewer the chance to confirm, or not, what I think. I don’t own the truth, but everyone will have their own truth”. She also explained that she chose the designation film-essay “because in it I reproduce the process of discovering and analysing the original film, my doubts and indecisions, while at the same time presenting the viewer with period images that allow them to identify the people filmed”.
Where is Pessoa? will now be screened at two national film festivals: Caminhos do Cinema Português, in Coimbra, on 17 November (6.15PM); and Porto Post Doc, in Porto, on 19 and 23 November (5PM and 5.15PM respectively). At the Caminhos do Cinema Português festival, Leonor Areal will also present the masterclass “Dar forma à matéria, no documentário” [Giving form to matter, in documentary], at 3PM on 11 November, “where she will discuss the possibilities offered by raw material in documentary cinema and the formal solutions that can be found from it, discussing their suggestions and implications”.
Deadline: 18 January 2024
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