In these turbulent times, the new dates for the Olhão International Festival of Film and Literature look set to be at the height of summer - July 15th to 21st - so, to make a virtue of necessity we will be back with more outdoor activities. Thanks, especially, to the Algarve’s splendid summer evenings, many of the films in the international competition will be screened outdoors in the patio of República 14 which, for many years, has been our customary venue for open-air cinema. In essence, the festival program remains the same: the international competition; a retrospective - this time of the director Albert Serra; and the film cycle of a guest country, which for this edition is Italy. However, some activities have had to be cancelled because given the circumstances, we believe we cannot guarantee the safety and well-being of the artists and participants. One example being the Staged Reading organised by Rogério de Carvalho, based on a script written by Tiago Hespanha in Olhão. This will go ahead with all due fanfare, together with other activities, in a future edition.
With regard to the film program, the Tropical Gothic cycle that explores unrest and ghosts will also be postponed. We contend that in Gothic, the horror extends into the present as the aesthetic concern of a disturbing past and present and yet, paradoxically, it is too current to be comfortable or interesting. We believe that even with the aid of Minerva, we shall have to wait some time before we can speak about that disturbing past and this still elusive present.
The Olhão International Festival of Film and Literature returns for its second edition, with more surprising connections between cinema and literature and with a programme featuring everything from documentaries to fiction films, as well as animation.
Image emerges as a profound desire inherent to the phenomenon of writing, and cinema, as a new art form, revolutionised literature, paving the way for perhaps the most interesting and complex literature of our times. Curiously, we would have never delved as deeply into consciousness with Virginia Woolf and Joyce if silent cinema hadn’t existed. And cinema, confronted with this new way of storytelling, faces the challenge of finding a visual equivalent to an interior world that is multiple, disperse and diffuse. Just like the infinite mirrors reflecting Sofia Garay’s divided self in Alejandra Márquez Abella’s The Good Girls, a film with a narrative interrupted by a delirious interior monologue that can be found in the International Competition section. In this sense, the season dedicated to great Italian cinema masterfully reflects this visual challenge: from Journey to Italy (1954), inspired by the last pages of “The Dead”, a story from James Joyce’s “The Dubliners” which, according to Cahiers, heralded a new era in cinema, all the way to the nouveau roman exemplified by Antonionio’s The Passenger (1975), which uses the ambiguity of image as a specifically cinematographic tool (to express the dissociation of consciousness), just to mention a few of the films from the Italian season. Indeed, these films use the narrative structure and the theme of travel to explore identity. Travel, a theme of universal literature through the ages, is the great subject linking the nine films of the international competition, whether that be: travelling through memories as a sentimental exercise in Marion Hänsel’s There Was a Little Ship (the director will be present at the festival) or Hans Petter Moland’s Out Stealing Horses; the voyage through consciousness in Alejandra Márquez Abella’s The Good Girls; the journey through literary and historical memory of the Galician Eloy Enisco’s Endless Night; or a journey with a fairytale-like structure and Brothers Grimm themes, the Hansel and Gretel of Fabrice du Welz’s Adoration - the other Belgian film in competition, which will open this second edition of the festival. The journey to the desert with no return of Fortress, the journey among the dead in the paramilitary hell of Nicolás Rincón Gille’s magnificent Colombian film Valley of Souls, and Campo whose director, Tiago Hespanha, is in artistic residence to write a screenplay, which will be the subject of a Staged Reading led by Rogério de Carvalho in an attempt to explore the connections between cinema and theatre. This, as previously mentioned, will take place at a future edition, where both will also be present either live or via video conference. We will also be hosting Ludovica Andò and Emiliano Aiello, the directors of Fortress, a movie inspired by Dino Buzatti’s “The Tartar Steppe” and which, in a departure from the syntax model of the novel (by chapters), narrates instead through scenes and acts, following the possibilities of theatre and which establishes a dialogue about confinement – a dialogue and an issue that crosses historical time, both diegetic and non-diegetic (some of the actors are indeed inmates of the Civitavecchia prison). Or I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians, directed by the Romanian Radu Jude, which brings theatre to the cinema, re-enacting the Odessa holocaust of 1941 and which, on this journey, confronts us with the whitewashing of historic memory. And through theatre again, we reach Albert Serra, particularly his latest film, included in the complete retrospective of his works inspired by literature: Liberté, based on the play of the same name which, according to Serra, is a “carnal puppet theatre which is very powerful in material terms”. Both Liberté and the new script that Tiago Hespanha is writing in Olhão are stories that explore the night. The Tropical Gothic cycle, which as mentioned previously will also be postponed, covers the obscure and, in this case, the disturbing. The cycle includes works by Colombian directors of the Cali Group - Carlos Mayolo and the recently deceased, Luis Ospina, and other Latin American productions who share their ethics and aesthetic. In future editions, we will explore the recycling and transformation of the Gothic genre in Latin America, based on the power relations derived from Imperialism.
FICLO is organised by the Cineclube of Tavira in association with Olhão City Council, with support from Programa 365 Algarve.
We wish to thank all our partners and sponsors, as well as the entire team that make this festival possible. A special note of gratitude to Olhão City Council for believing in FICLO and to Programa 365 Algarve for their invaluable support.