The UK Portuguese Film Festival, now in its fourth year, hits London next week and is more expansive than ever. Broadly focused around the theme Film, Memory and Landscape, it will include new work from both well-established directors, and debut filmmakers from Portugal, Angola, Guinea Bissau and Brazil.
One of the festival’s highlights will be Zézé Gamboa’s The Great Kilapy, in which a con man finds himself hailed as an unlikely hero when he pulls off his biggest swindle yet on the eve of Angolan independence from Portugal. Also examining Portugal’s post-colonial legacy is João Viana’s The Battle of Tabato, which uses a fairy-tale narrative to look at present-day Guinea-Bissau. Compared to last year’s arthouse hit, Tabu (one of Portugal’s most successful films internationally), this promises to be a valuable insight into a history that feels under-explored in film.
There are also a few documentaries on offer this year, notably Brazilian director Gabriel Mascaro’s Housemaids, which might sound somewhat prosaic but which, filmed by the maids’ teenage children, hopes to offer an unusual level of intimacy. Salomé Lamas’ No Man’s Land arrives in London having already been awarded Best First Feature at DocLisboa last year, an interview-based documentary about a soldier and hit-man who worked both through the Portuguese colonial war and up until the 90s in collaboration with top governmental agencies.
It’s a reasonably small selection of films, but one that offers more than its fair share of international talent, and may well be London audiences’ only chance to see several of these works.