Featuring new works by master filmmakers Jean-Marie Straub (Le Genou d’Artémide), João Pedro Rodrigues (The Last Time I Saw Macao), and Miguel Gomes (Tabu), this trio of films slyly probe history’s mark upon our contemporary moment.
Un Conte de Michel de Montaigne and The King's Body and Redemption
"Que scais-je?" (What do I know?)"
— Michel de Montaigne, Les Essais
"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
— from John Ford's The Man who Shot
Liberty Valence (1962)
In the first of this trio of films that slyly probe history's mark upon our contemporary moment, master filmmaker Jean-Marie Straub continues his exploration of classic texts in a "collaboration" with celebrated sixteenth- century writer Michel de Montaigne. Featuring a passage from Beethoven, recitations from Montaigne's Essais (II, 6) and appearances by the author himself (in monumental form), Un Conte de Michel de Montaigne draws incisive parallels between Montaigne's era and today — both periods of extraordinary transition, rampant corruption and instability, but also ones of great scientific discovery and profound transformations in human perception.
In O Corpo de Afonso, João Pedro Rodrigues launches a brilliant and idiosyncratic inquiry into Portugal's centuries-old fascination with the country's first king, Afonso Henriques, stories of whose purportedly gigantic body and colossal sword have provided ready-made iconography for generations of later rulers. (Salazar himself adopted Afonso's mythic image as a key ideological prop for his regime.) Enlisting a group of musclemen, employing strippeddown (pun intended) means, combining contorted figures with lurid colours worthy of Ingres and evoking issues of class and sexuality along the way, Rodrigues brings new meaning to the term "cinematic corpus" in his attempt to find a fresh form for this national myth at a critical juncture in the country's present.
Redemption features Rodrigues' confrere
and countryman Miguel Gomes
musing with characteristic humour and
melancholia upon small-scale, perversely
prescient moments of human fallibility.
A witty and affecting montage of colour
Super 8 and black-and-white 16mm found
footage is accompanied by four epistolary
monologues (in Portuguese, Italian, French
and German), each of which betrays a sense
of haunting guilt or deep-seated regret.
Whose redemption is this?