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Trás-os-Montes (Portugal, 1976)

Trás-os-Montes (1976)
July 6, 2012 - 7:30 pm

“For me, this film reveals a new cinematographic language.”—Jean Rouch

Directed by António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro

Reis and Cordeiro’s undisputable masterpiece exploded the meaning and possibilities of ethnographic cinema with its lyrical exploration of the still resonant myths and legends embodied in the people and landscapes of Portugal’s remote Trás-os-Montes region. Evoking a kind of geologically Bergsonian time, with past and present layered upon one another, Trás-os-Montes interweaves evocative recreations of the ancient worlds and encounters with atavistic peasantry, following the pilgrim’s path traced by Reis and Cordeiro as they led their skeletal crew from village to village in search of the poetic essence of the Portuguese language and imagination. Painstakingly researched and shot over the course of one year, Reis and Cordeiro became intimate with every person included in their ambitious film, carefully selecting the different voices, faces and gestures that would together provide an extraordinary composite, associative and mythological response to the question of how to define a “national cinema.”

Cinematographer: Acácio de Almeida. Cast: Ilda Almeida, Rosalía Comba, Luis Ferreira.

35mm, color, in Portuguese with English subtitles, 111 min.