How many members of a family get dragged into the web of the political police on the arrest of a single political prisoner? How do you give form to someone who disappeared without having ...
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It's the summer of '75 in Sines, Portugal. Al Berto, the writer, embodies an entire moving generation. He and his friends exude youth, eccentricity and hope for the future - but right after... See full summary »
Vicente Alves do Ó
Raquel Rocha Vieira
A beautiful and intense visual story about hunger, misery and exploitation in southern Portugal in the 1950's and about the growing rage and strength building up upon people. The Alentejo ... See full summary »
How many members of a family get dragged into the web of the political police on the arrest of a single political prisoner? How do you give form to someone who disappeared without having had a historical existence? Taking as its starting point the photographs taken by the Portuguese political police during the Salazar dictatorship and testimonies from those close to an assassinated communist activist, Luz Obscura invents a form that reveals how an authoritarian system operates within the family intimacy and recreates the feeling of a family's broken identity.
The testimonials are amazing (both the ones which show how the New State in Portugal destroyed families and the one that describes torture from political police PIDE) but the way director chose to show them is very problematic. The usage of pictures is generally a way of compensating the lack of recorded moving images, but she chose to show very little the three siblings who speak. That made the film too boring for the so interesting testimonials she had in her hands. Besides that, there was no convincing usage of those pictures (perhaps the only exception is the change from a picture of the mother before and after prison), what becomes more serious as the same images were shown for a long time without any change to another one. Basically, a blind could enjoy more the movie than those who also see. Director also shows interesting footage of nature, not always very clear, and with no literal meaning - that was nice and could really work, if it happened for much less time!
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