The work by the two Portuguese filmmakers Margarida Cordeiro (1939-) and António Reis (1927-1991), will be shown within the framework of the Seville Festival. For the first time in Spain, and thanks to the collaboration of the Portuguese Film Archive, a retrospective curated by Manuel Asín, has been programmed that recovers all of their feature lengths films and compares them with other works related to their cinema.
The Seville Festival has often shown examples of the emergence of authors of different generations who create their own cinematic language in Portugal. In 2013 the Festival devoted a special section to its film production and, edition after edition, various sections of its programming have incorporated works by Manoel de Oliveira, Paulo Rocha, Pedro Costa, João César Monteiro, João Pedro Rodrigues or Miguel Gomes. The cinematic weight of these figures has too often eclipsed the visionary, passionate work by Margarida Cordeiro and António Reis. Admired by such filmmakers as Joris Ivens, Marguerite Duras, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet or Jean Rouch, and by the most prestigious critics, such as the French Serge Daney, their short but legendary filmography deserves its own page in the history of not just Portuguese cinema but of universal cinema.
The films by Margarida Cordeiro and António Reis were made between the ‘70s and ‘80s and are unusual in their form and content, with a hypnotic style and profound sensitivity, mid-way between poetic documentary and ethnographic cinema, where the natural and human landscapes are the protagonists and where time is suspended. These works are precursors which explain the later development of European cinema.
Born in Oporto and recognised first as a poet and then as a filmmaker, António Reis had a great influence on the development of Portuguese cinema after the Revolution of the Carnations and also on the young generation of filmmakers that rose up right afterwards. He was writer and assistant director on two key films in the 60s which marked the start of modern radical cinema in Portugal, Change one’s life (Paulo Rocha, 1966), and Rite of Spring (Manoel de Oliveira, 1963), two pioneer works that already moved between fiction and non-fiction and transferred the spectator’s gaze to the rural world as is habitual in the work by Cordeiro and Reis. Reis also taught in the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema de Lisboa, where he marked a whole generation of contemporary Portuguese filmmakers, among whom are his admirers Pedro Costa and João Pedro Rodrigues, perfect incarnation of his legacy.
This mini-season recovers the work by Cordeiro and Reis beginning with Jaime (1974), their first work in collaboration; a cult work and an essential short film for understanding the importance of the work by these filmmakers. It also includes the monumental Trás-os-Montes (1976), a profound, accurate study of the geographic, historic and identitary depths of Portugal, of its soul reflected in myths and peasant folklore, recognised as one of the peaks of documentary cinema. This is followed by Ana (1985), their first feature length fiction film, an intergenerational portrait filmed with an unusual poetry. Mingling symbols from the past with the reality of the modern world, Ana is a powerful meditation on the history of human civilization. Something similar can be said about The Sand Rose (1989), a film with a clear literary inspiration in which traces of Kafka or Montaigne can be seen.
In addition to the work by the couple, this retrospective includes some of the films on which they collaborated –like the above mentioned titles by Oliveira y Rocha- or on which they had an influence, like Blood by their disciple Pedro Costa, giving a spherical vision of the creative and conceptual world of Cordeiro y Reis.
All the films will be shown in 35mm, their original format, except for Change One’s Life and Trás-os-Montes, in which cases we will enjoy their recently restored copies in digital format. After their screenings at the Seville Festival, the work by Cordeiro and Reis will be shown at the Centro Galego de Artes da Imaxe-Filmoteca de Galicia (CGAI) in Corunna, the Instituto Valenciano de Cinematografía - Filmoteca de Valencia (IVAC), and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) in Madrid, making it possible for other audiences to have access to the work by these unique filmmakers.
António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro join the list of directors programmed for the XIV edition of the Seville Festival and which, while waiting for the confirmation of other incorporations, already includes Manuel Muñoz Rivas, Pedro Pinho, Valeska Grisebach, Carlo Padial, Adrián Orr, Romuald Karmakar, Ayse Toprak, Francis Lee, Roberto de Paolis, Valérie Massadian, Velasco Broca, David Gutiérrez Camps, Laurent Cantet, Claire Denis, Teresa Villaverde, Serge Bozon, Mathieu Amalric and Jean-Charles Fitoussi.