Obscure Light

Luz Obscura

DIRECTOR(S): Susana de Sousa Dias   COUNTRY: Portugal   YEAR: 2017   LANGUAGES: Portuguese   SUBTITLES: German, English   RUNNING TIME: 76 min


Sunday, 01.10., 5:45 p.m., kommkino, Q&A with Susana de Sousa Dias und Ansgar Schäfer
Wednesday, 04.10., 7:15 p.m., kinoeins

SECTION: Wettbewerb

Drawing on identity photos taken by the Portuguese political police during the dictatorship, Susana de Sousa Dias continues the work she began fifteen years ago on the possibility of representing a repressed history and giving an account of the torture now erased. One of the photos stands out for its departure from the judicial protocol. A mother is holding her baby on her knees. Her face, a three-quarters face shot as opposed to the regulatory front-facing shot, is blurred by movement and half-hidden by the child. This subjective punctum on an official document harbours the central question of the film with its sound-track of testimonies from those close to an assassinated communist activist: how does authoritarianism worm its way into family intimacy?
The methods of the PIDE were typically grounded in Salazar’s values: as the family prevailed over the citizen in society, Alvaro, Rui and Isabel, Octavio Pato’s children, were also photographed as prisoners in the prison yard or the visiting room. Born of different mothers, they did not meet until late in their childhood; one of them only “realised that [his] father existed” at the age of 9, another “never saw his lower body” during the prison visits; Isabel only got to know her mother as a teenager. As other figures emerge from the shadows and state archives ironically remedy the lack of family photos, the filmmaker finds a form that recreates as accurately as possible a family identity that has been fractured genealogically, historically and physically. (Charlotte Garson, Cinéma du réel)

Susanna de Sousa Dias was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1962. She wrote her thesis in Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art at Lisbon University, and also holds a degree in Painting from the Lisbon University of Fine Arts and a degree in Cinema from the National School of Theatre and Cinema. She studied Music at the National Conservatory of Music and is currently a lecturer at Lisbon University of Fine Arts. In 2001 she founded the production company Kintop. Her documentary Natureza Morta (NIHRFF 2007) was screened at numerous festivals and won several awards. For her film 48 (NIHRFF 2011) she won the Grand Prize at Cinéma du Réel Film Festival in Paris.


SCRIPT:    PRODUCER: Ansgar Schäfer   CAMERA: João Ribeiro   EDITOR: Susana de Sousa Dias   MUSIC: Armanda Carvalho   CAST:


PRODUCTION: Ansgar Schäfer, Kintop   WORLD SALES: Portugal Film – Portuguese Film Agency   GERMAN DISTRIBUTOR: