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September 17 - September 18

The Musical Imagination of Miguel Gomes

In recent years Portugal has reemerged as an exciting new destination on the ever-shifting and always unpredictable map of world cinema, an important center for some of the most innovative currents in contemporary filmmaking. Relatively new to the scene is Miguel Gomes (b. 1972), who has joined Pedro Costa and Joao Pedro Rodigues as an artist similarly committed to exploring and expanding the deep-rooted tradition of Portuguese radical cinema defined earlier by Paulo Rocha, Joao Cesar Monteiro and the still incredibly active and inspirational Manoel de Oliveira, whose marvelous new film Eccentricities of a Blond Haired Girl will receive its Boston premiere at the HFA in July. Gomes began first as a film critic before directing a series of refreshingly eccentric short films that revealed his innate talents as a sensual visual stylist interested in an intensely image based narrative in which music plays an equal role to dialogue. Gomes’ early “musical comedies” offer important keys to his feature films by revealing the important inspiration of both musical cinema and the silent film to his uniquely playful and imaginative approach to narrative. The unique energy and puckish charm of Gomes’ little known debut, the Alice in Wonderland-meets-Jacque Rivette narrative puzzle, The Face That You Deserve, took the ludic tendencies of his cinema to a furthest extreme. The festival favorite My Beloved Month of August turned a new and important direction by responding to the “post-documentary” mode of innovative and unclassifiable non-fiction cinema championed by Costa and defined earlier by pioneering works such as Oliveira’s Rite of Spring (1963).

The HFA is happy to welcome Miguel Gomes for his first US retrospective, which is co-presented with the New England Ibero-American Film Festival, taking place in Providence, RI from September 18 through September 25, 2010. Special thanks: Cristina Garza, FiGa Films; Adam Sekuler, Northwest Film Forum; Jose Torrealba, NEFIAC.

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Special Event Tickets $12
Friday September 17 at 7pm

Our Beloved Month of August (Aquele querido mês de agosto)

Directed by Miguel Gomes, Appearing in Person
With Sónia Bandeira, Fábio Oliveira, Joaquim Carvalho
Portugal 2008, 35mm, color, 147 min. Portuguese with English subtitles

Music inspires the rich emotional range and unusual structure of Gomes’ second feature and its intricate mosaic portrait of the late summer concerts and celebrations that unite the remote Portuguese town of Argantil. Playfully interweaving multiple documentary strands – including one featuring Gomes himself struggling with his producer and crew – Our Beloved Month of August only eventually discovers the extended family band that takes center stage in the second half of the film and whose secret desires and fears are channeled deep into their musical performances. Gomes’ fascination with the music and landscape of Northern Portugal gives way to a mode of cinematic regionalism that insists on the deep-rootedness of its stories within the local customs and culture.

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Special Event Tickets $12
Saturday September 18 at 7pm

The Face You Deserve (A cara que mereces)

Directed by Miguel Gomes, Appearing in Person
With José Airosa, Gracinda Nave, Pedro Caldas
Portugal 2004, 35mm, color, 107 min. Portuguese with English subtitles

In his first film, Gomes unleashes a hyperactive and circular search for lost youth that spirals around a group of almost middle-aged Peter Pan men devoted to obscurely ceremonial games with wild, fantastical rules. Sequestered in a cottage deep in the woods, the friends care as intensely for one another as they do the games that keep them detached from the rest of the world. Gomes’ talent at using music to guide and reinvent narrative and movement within the frame is revealed by the storybook tableaux that recur throughout his delightful debut film.


Directed by Miguel Gomes, Appearing in person
With Mariana Ricardo, Nuno Oliveira, André Delphim
Portugal 2002, 35mm, color, 25 min. Portuguese with English subtitles

One of Gomes’ most stylistically accomplished early shorts, Entretanto is a quirky portrait of a ménage a trois between two soccer teammates and a sultry gamin. Making playful use of off-screen space and a lively soundtrack, Gomes’ romantic comedy is animated by the deadpan humor of delayed reaction so essential to contemporary Portuguese cinema.

Canticle of All Creatures (Cantico das criaturas)

Directed by Miguel Gomes, Appearing in Person
With João Nicolau, Mariana Ricardo, Paolo Manera
Portugal 2006, 35mm, color, 24 min. Portuguese with English subtitles

A humorous yet ardently sincere religious music video about Saint Francis, Gomes’ early work brings fuses the bright kitsch tableaux of Pierre and Giles with the plastic sincerity of a glow-in-the-dark rosary.

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