Portuguese Cinema Captures Spotlight At Weekend Festival

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Portuguese Cinema Captures Spotlight At Weekend Festival

Artsonje Center is currently holding a Portuguese Film Festival. It's a rare occasion for film fans in Korea to take a look at movies by contemporary directors who are critically lauded but not widely known among the filmgoing public.

The best-known of the directors whose works are included in the festival is Manoel de Oliveira. Oliveira, now 93, is still a prolific filmmaker and his last film, "I'm Going Home" (2001) was shown at the Cannes festival in May. At this festival, spectators will have an opportunity to see how his style has developed over the last 20 years with the movies "Francisca" (1981), "Glory of Command" (1989), "Abraham's Valley" (1993), "Journey to the Beginning of the World" (1997) and "Anxiety" (1998). Oliveira has said he believes cinema is just a development of theater. His films are heavy in references to literature and history, and are full of music as well as wonderful cinematography.

The festival also celebrates Joao Cesar Monteiro, director of "John Wayne's Pelvis" (1997). Monteiro also makes some noteworthy appearances on screen in that movie, as an actor playing God at the beginning of the film and as a stowaway sailor whose obsession with John Wayne's manly gait gives you a clue to the title of the film.

Joao Botelho's film "Here on Earth" (1993) explores faith. A successful 45-year-old economist, Miguel, is plunged into depression and loneliness after his father's death. Two criminals realize their wrongs. The film traces the recovery and redemption of the characters.

Pedro Costa is well known for his bold selection of amateur actors and distinctive style of direction. "Blood" (1989), a black-and-white film which first brought the director international critical attention, will be screened in the festival.

Also scheduled for the festival are some animation shorts, including "Suspicion" (2000) by Jose Miguel Ribeiro and "Fado Lucitano" (1994) by Abi Feijo.

The festival runs through Tuesday. Some of the films will have English subtitles available (please see table below) and tickets cost 5,000 won ($3.85).

Artsonje Center is on a small road roughly opposite the entrance to the National Folk Museum, situated on the road running down the right side of the Kyongbok Palace complex. It is signposted.

For more information, please call 02-701-7385 or 016-283-8763 (Korean service only).

by Park Jeong-ho

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