More film festivals in London keep popping up out of nowhere – and I really mean ‘popping up out of nowhere’, as some are still very much in their infancy. The 2nd Portuguese Film Festival runs from November 10-30, with films screening at cinemas across London.
But this is not just any old film festival:
The focus of the festival will be on adaptations of Portuguese literature and will include a special session at the Barbican, with classic silent film Os Lobos (directed by Rino Lupo) being accompanied by Grupo de Música Contemporânea de Lisboa.
I was planning to go see A Separation (screening as part of the 2nd Iranian Film Festival), but now I will have to give that a rethink, as Filme do Desassosego (Disquiet, 2010, directed by João Botelho) is showing on the same day, more or less at the same time. Filme do Desassosego is based on Livro do Desassosego (The Book of Disquiet) by modern writer Fernando Pessoa – one of my most cherished works of literature by a brilliant author. I can’t quite imagine how such a book – which is consists of fragments placed together and is more an idiosyncratic, semi-autobiographical journal than a novel-with-a-plot – can be transferred to film. I am not familiar with the director, João Botelho, although the film festival synopsis calls him “one of the greatest Portuguese film directors”.
(image from Sítio das Citações)
The festival also features Ensaio sobre a Cegueira (Blindness, 2008), based on the novel of the same title by Nobel laureate José Saramago. The film was made by Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (Cidade de Deus/City of God, The Constant Gardener), with the cast including big names like Julianne Moore, Gael García Bernal, Danny Glover and Mark Ruffalo. Reviews of Blindness varied quite a bit from what I remember (I have not yet seen the film), but I would certainly recommend the book. Although it’s not on my list of absolute favourites, it was the first work of literature in years that managed to make me think – for days onwards – about the issues it raised.