FICS warm-up sessions have just finished last March 16th, with the fundamental support of the FILMar project, operated by the Portuguese Cinemateca under the EEAGrants funding mechanism.


Over 2 months, this partnership brought 5 special sessions with unseen digitized copies of Portuguese cinema classics to Teatro Sá da Bandeira.

The FILMar project aims to showcase Portuguese film heritage related to the sea in the broadest possible way. Developed in collaboration with partners in Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, the donor countries, it aims to digitize ten thousand minutes of films of various genres and formats, ensuring their visibility through retrospectives, cycles, DVD editions, and publications.

The first session took place on February 10th with the film "O FAUNO DAS MONTANHAS," directed by Manuel Luíz Vieira, 1926, 40 min.

The film tells the story of naturalist Mr. Garton and his daughter Jenny, staying at a hotel in Funchal to spend part of the winter. While visiting Rabaçal, Jenny – romantic and with a rich fantasy – imagines that a 700-meter tunnel under the mountain is the entrance to hell and the shelter guard a faun. The film premiered in May 1927 at Theatro-Circo do Funchal. The session featured live music with original scores by Manuel Brito.

On February 17th, the second warm-up took place, this time with a double feature, featuring the films "NAZARÉ, PRAIA DE PESCADORES," 1929, 15 min, and "MARIA DO MAR," 1930, 105 min, both by Leitão de Barros.

"NAZARÉ, PRAIA DE PESCADORES" illustrates the life and habits of the people of Nazaré, the fishermen of Nazaré Beach, distinguished by their traditional attire and habits. The sea and its harsh way of life are central themes. It also shows their craftsmanship, rowing boats, and fishing nets, adapted to the natural conditions of a place where life is not easy. The session was accompanied by live music with original scores by Filipe Raposo.

"MARIA DO MAR" is considered the masterpiece of Portuguese silent cinema. It is a local synthesis of European cinematic avant-gardes of the 1920s, combining very innovative formal composition and editing with an ethnographic look at the fishing community of Nazaré. The balanced blend of modernity and tradition, as well as the fluidity between documentary and fiction, make this film a founding work in Portuguese cinema history and a milestone in European silent cinema. The 2021 digital restoration was based on the 4K digitization of the original camera negative. Some degraded or nonexistent shots in the negative, as well as all intertitles, were digitized from the interpositive produced in 2000. Bernardo Sassetti's score was originally commissioned by the Cinemateca in 1999 and recorded in 2010.

The 3rd and 4th sessions took place on March 9th, featuring the films "A CANÇÃO DA TERRA," 1930, 98 min, by Jorge Brum de Canto, and "AS ILHAS ENCANTADAS," 1965, 89 min, by Carlos Vilardebó.

The plot of "A CANÇÃO DA TERRA" takes place in Porto Santo, Madeira. The struggle for life takes on painful aspects with the drought, as it does not rain on the island. Gonçalves seeks to escape misfortune with the encouragement brought by Bastiana's love, despite the rivalry with João Venâncio, a wealthy landowner with a spring of water on his land who refuses to share it with Gonçalves. Resignation and sacrifice, anxiety, passion, and hatred ignite human conflicts under the whims of nature.

A bold production project by Cunha Telles, "AS ILHAS ENCANTADAS" is the only foray into feature-length fiction by documentarian Carlos Villardebó, a Portuguese settled in France, based on Herman Melville's novel of the same name. A French sailor arrives on an island he believes to be deserted and finds a singular woman, lonely since the death of her husband and brother. Amália Rodrigues in one of her great and perhaps less-known roles in cinema.

We ended on a high note on March 16th, with a triple session dedicated to Ribatejo. Featuring the films "OS TOIROS NA FAINA AGRÍCOLA RIBATEJANA," 1939, 9 min, by Adolfo Coelho, "SAL SEM MAR," 1959, 15 min, by Fernando Duarte, and "GENTE DA PRAIA DA VIEIRA," 1976, 61 min, by António Campos. It is worth noting the importance of this session for featuring the first film by the founder of the International Film Festival of Santarém, Fernando Duarte, with the cherished presence of his family.