Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935) and the invention of the modern subject in a body of writing intersected by melancholy and the conception of multiple fictitious identities form the backbone of this series, a survey on the author of The Book of Disquiet from the perspective of film. The programme touches upon themes such as the relationship between writing and life, performance and narrative, and non-literary forms of text, featuring films by four Portuguese directors, Manoel de Oliveira, João Botelho, Paulo Rocha, and João César Monteiro, and one Brazilian, Júlio Bressane, whose work constitutes, historically speaking, a playful, popular and counter-cultural opposition to Cinema Novo.
Pessoa’s interest in film led him to write six scripts, ranging from the absurd, a critique of one sole identity and a reconsideration of genres (Note for a Silly Thriller, Note for a Thriller and The Multiple Nobleman, for instance), and to establish his own production company, Ecce Film, for which he designed a logo and searched for premises. Neither the company nor the films ever came to fruition, however.
Furthermore, the writing of Fernando Pessoa assembles some of the key themes in contemporary auteur cinema, mapping a route through the major reference points in modern Portuguese film. In essence, the crisis of existence, the city and urban experience as a transition towards dissolution, the conception of identity as a multiple and performative act, the progressive decadence of a country after its past nationalist glories, and the assimilation of cultural critique in tourism and cultural brands, for instance with Pessoa in modern-day Lisbon, are themes which enable the confluence between the writer and the film-makers to be established.
This series engages in dialogue with the exhibition Pessoa. All Art Is a Form of Literature (Museo Reina Sofía, until 7 May 2018), and, by the same token, looks to explore the relationships between writing and life, in this case through film, and to delve into non-literary forms and spaces in texts and writing.
With the collaboration of: