First Film Cycle WOMANART

Venue: Cinemax – Braga Shopping

Dates: March 14th, 21st, 28th / April 4th and 11th

March 14th: Cartas a uma Ditadura/ Letters to a Dictator

 (2006, Director: Inês Medeiros)

Film presented by Ana Gabriela Macedo (CEHUM/ Universidade do Minho)

Film synopsis: Documentary by Inês Medeiros exploring films excerpts, written letters and photographs from the years of Salazar’s dictatorship. These documents are combined with a set of interviews to several women from diverse social classes. In 1958, Portuguese women were invited to express their support to Salazar through laudatory letters, as a reaction to the first crisis faced by the regime with General Humberto Delgado’s electoral campaign. Those letters, reveal both staunch supporters and more contained or simple women, who reacted differently to the regime’s propaganda. The film deconstructs the national appeal which motivated these letters as one of the regime’s strategies for self-perpetuation.

March 21st:  48 (2010, Director: Susana de Sousa Dias)

Film presented by Vítor Ribeiro (Film curator of Casa das Artes de Famalicão)

Film Synopsis: What can an individual portrait reveal about a political system? What can a photograph taken 35 years ago tell you about nowadays world? The film uses a group of prison photographs from political dissidents to expose the strategies used by the Portuguese dictatorship (1926/ 1933-1974) to perpetuate itself for 48 years. After Natureza Morta (Still Life, 2005, film internationally acclaimed), Susana Sousa Dias revisits the Estado Novo regime once more, this time using innovative cinematic resources.

March 28th: Spell Reel (experimental documentary, 2017. Director: Filipa César)

Film presented by Márcia Oliveira

Film Synopsis: The film is the product from a multidisciplinary research and a recuperative scanning process started in 2011, with the collaboration of Guinean directors Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes. Both of them studied film making in Cuba, having documented the independence struggle of Guiné Bissau (1963-1974) with their cameras. The project started with the recuperation, in a Berlin lab, of video and audio material which was rotting away. Once the material was treated and prepared for projection, Sana na N’Hada and Flora Gomes took it back to Guiné Bissau and went on the road, visiting the places where those images were shot in the first place, and showing it to local populations who were then invited to comment on what they saw. Eventually, people’s reactions and comments were added to the final documentary.

April 4th: Quem é Bárbara Virgínia? / Who is Bárbara Vírgina?

(2017, Director: Luísa Sequeira)

Film presented by Luísa Sequeira and Margarida Pereira

Film Synopsis: This documentary pays tribute to Bárbara Virgínia, the first Portuguese woman to direct a film, and the only one to achieve this as long as the dictatorship lasted. The film recuperates the memory of this pioneer who has undeservedly fallen into oblivion.

April 11th: Natal 71 / Christmas 71

(2000, Director: Margarida Cardoso)

Film synopsis:

“Christmas 71” is the name of a record offered to the soldiers waging war at the overseas provinces in that year. “Cancioneiro do Niassa” is the name of a cassette, clandestinely recorded by soldiers during the war years in Mozambique. At the time, Portugal was a great imperial nation – or so I read in the school books – and, in order to keep it as such, my father and the majority of his generation fought that war, which lasted for thirteen years. Currently, we are the silent bearers of those memories. I try to go back in time and understand. At my father’s home, I found some photographs, the cassette and the record. The cassette assembles voices of rebellion, the record is a piece of fascist propaganda. Both are memories of a fascist dictatorship, memories of a country isolated from the rest of the world, poor and ignorant, tamed by an unctuous and basic propaganda that tried to silence any conflict, and which prevented us from thinking critically and acknowledge the repressive nature of the regime we lived in.