Liberdade, Palácios de Pena and Olympia I & II will show at BFI London Film Festival this weekend.

From the outset, Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt’s Palácios de Pena establishes for itself a sense of veiled purpose, effecting a curious disjuncture in both narrative and form. Sumptuously, meticulously photographed; cinematic; yet curiously at odds with its conventional mantle, it dances between feature film and long-form artist’s work, never quite allowing itself to be pinned by either trope.
The film’s protagonists, a group of teenage girls, maintain a louche, cool, strangely distant relationship with one another, and with the narrative itself, somehow at once within and beyond the world which is constructed for us – for them – as if reluctant to submit entirely to the fiction. The effect of distanciation that this produces, whether intentional or merely an artefact of the artists wielding the tools of the feature film director (that is, at something of a remove himself), or of the loss of a layer of linguistic codes in translation and subtitling, is one of an ‘othering’: as with the actresses themselves, the dialogue is aware of itself, and becomes to an extent self-reflexive, its words ‘othered’. It is almost as if the girls are speaking lines from another film. Their words fall heavy.
Providing the framework for this sparse dialogue, in the film’s opening scene, is a richly symbolic space; a large, empty sports stadium. It is an arena for spectatorship, for contest, for competition. The girls navigate the space at first, it seems, without any of the usual components of a game we might expect to see in such a stadium. Ball, racquets, sticks, crowd are absent, and the girls instead run and dive together, awkwardly denuded of the bald accroutements of sport – those instruments which would complete the loop of meaning suggested by the stadium location – playful yet aggressive, strangely balletic. And the film’s other spaces, as they appear, are similarly symbolic: a high concrete enclosure, a dam, a stone tower, a rock escarpment overlooking the sea.
The interdeterminacy of space, it seems, is a theme that Abrantes & Schmidt use throughout the film – the withholding of meaning; the free interchange of signification – to great effect, given (indeed, because of) the conventional format he has chosen. Where we might expect to see closed sets of meanings presented within a taut, linear narrative, the artists play, presenting a multiplicity of meanings, momentarily, before closing the loop.
Framed entirely by women, aside, surely pointedly, from a dream about men, and the errors of men, in the cast of amoral ‘chorus’, troubled moral individual, wild seer, and sage-like figure (‘Little Grandma’, the dreamer) presiding over all, Palácios de Pena follows a fabulous (in the strict sense of the word) narrative which recalls – not only, ineluctably, for their association with Portugal, for thefado drifting across the frame – the magic realism of Eugène Green’s A Portuguese Nun or John Berger’s Here is Where we Meet; also the utopian spaces of Tarkovsky; the cruelty of Haneke. It examines a similar liminality: of the space between wakefulness and sleep, reality and dream, morality and amorality, life and death. It is no surprise, perhaps, that its main protagonists are teenagers, navigating that dangerous time between the amoral and moral, child and adult: a time for and of cruelty. It lives in the interval, in the black space, at death itself, perhaps. But it exists on its own, too, in a state of magical suspension.
Beyond the draw of its narrative, though, Palácios de Pena – indeed Abrantes’ other work – is interesting in the context of the recuperation of narrative in artists’ moving image after the ascetic purges of Structuralism. Its very length, too, at an hour, consigns it to an indeterminate, uneasy category – something almost subversive for a work with so ostensibly straightforward a method.
It is emblematic, perhaps, of a new fluidity in artists’ moving image practice and, beyond the recuperation of narrative, which is after all well-established, suggests – as Ben Rivers and certain others move towards longer-form work – a challenge to the commercial, conventional form of feature film itself which goes beyond the assimilative strategies of Steve McQueen, Gillian Wearing and others. That is, it demands to use those most conventional of the tropes of commercial feature film yet remain outside of the (arguably decayed) industrial model of production and mainstream distribution network.
Adam Pugh
Palácios de Pena will be screened alongside two other collaborative works by Abrantes.
GABRIEL ABRANTES screenings :-
Saturday 22 October 2011, at 9pm, BFI Southbank NFT3
Tuesday 25 October 2011, at 1:15pm, BFI Southbank NFT2

By Gabriel Abrantes and Katie Widlowski
Gabriel Abrantes early film Olympia I & II will follow the screening of two ambitious new works – Liberdade and Palacios de Pena – in his solo programme on 22 & 25 October. The artist will be present to introduce and take questions on these works, which were made in collaboration with Katie Widlowski, Benjamin Crotty and Daniel Schmidt.
To accompany two new films by Gabriel Abrantes, Olympia I & II (2008) is revisited to delve deeper into the way this artists treats his characters’ attitudes towards sex, sexuality and power. Abrantes and Katie Widlowski explicitly reference Manet’s painting Olympia (1863) through the title and the visual composition of the frame. Their use of 16mm film heightens the painterly qualities of the work: the saturated colours, the grainy make-up, the smoothness of the porcelain skin of Olympia and the velvet cushions and feathery flowers caressing her body.
Despite the art historical context, the work does not get lost in aesthetics. The twisted and verbally aggressive interaction of Olympia I contrasts with the sickly sweet homoerotic conversation that leads to intercourse between transvestite Olympia and his maid in Olympia II. Both films evoke the characters’ sadness and bitterness towards life and their psychological cracks hit the viewer emotionally.
Marina Ribera
Palacios de Pena (Palaces of Pity) received its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival 2011. Here’s the trailer :-
GABRIEL ABRANTES screenings :-
Saturday 22 October 2011, at 9pm, BFI Southbank NFT3
Tuesday 25 October 2011, at 1:15pm, BFI Southbank NFT2

Liberdade and Palácios de Pena at Viennale 2011

Liberdade: by Gabriel Abrantes and Benjamin Crotty: 2011: 17 Min

Luanda, Angola. Two young lovers, Liberdade, an Angolan boy, and his Chinese girlfriend, Betty, navigate through the complications of their burgeoning identities.

This film is part of the short film program
Pushing the Boundaries.

Palácios de Pena: By Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt: 2011: 59 Min

Haunted by their own directionless lives, two pre-adolescent girls reunite while visiting their ailing grandmother. In the midst of her fantasies of a medieval past – one consumed by fear and desire – the two girls are transformed and confront a legacy of oppression. Palácios de pena is about a culturally inherited fear in Portugal, linked to political and social oppression during the Inquisition and Fascism. (Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt)

This film is screened together with
All Flowers in Time.



2 September 11:30 - Sala Perla 3 September 13:00 - Sala Pasinetti

Palácios de Pena by Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt - Portugal, 59'
language: Portuguese - s/t English, Italian
Catarina Gaspar, Andreia Martins

Haunted by their own directionless lives, two pre-adolescent girls reunite while visiting their ailing grandmother. In the midst of her fantasies of a medieval past – one consumed by fear and desire – the two girls are transformed and confront a legacy of oppression. “Love is finally, / an entrancement of legs, / a union of bellies, / a brief tremor of arteries, / a confusion of mouths, / a battle of veins, / a rolling of thighs, / whoever says otherwise is a beast.“ (Gregório de Mattos, 17th century) “Oh my boy, what will happen to me if I lose you from sight! What will happen to me if I see you bit by bit, I hope to be always, always seeing you! But, as I have no liberty to do so, I die, so I rest without you embracing me! Now shake, shake little puppy, for you, for you little heart, now shake, yes, yes, yes, oh my little heart, give me your arms because there I want to die.“ (Letter from Frei Francisco da Ilha da Madeira to Frei Mathias de Mattos –1690 circa) “Big baby sleep over at my new palace!!! Bring boots and your black hoodies, and pls pls pls pls don’t tell Ana about this, K? Best Best Friends. Thnx! Princess Maggie xoxox MEGA <3“ (Text message from Margarida to her Best Friends – Excerpt from Screenplay of Palácios de pena)

Directors’ Statement
Palácios de pena is about a culturally inherited fear in Portugal, linked to political and social oppression during the Inquisition and Fascism. It revolves around two upper-middle class adolescent Portuguese girls, juxtaposing their budding identities to a trial condemning two Moorish homosexuals to burn at the stake. Their ailing grandmother gives them an awareness of their heritage through the mechanism of desire, describing a dream where she is a judge of the Inquisition. The grandmother’s and the girls’ guilt is complicated by their relationship, that of family and love. As they love each other, so does what they represent: ignorance and the will to violently oppress.


“Liberdade”, co-directed by Gabriel Abrantes and Benjamin Crotty, was awarded the Film and Video Prize at the Pardi di Domani section after receiving the
Restart Award for Best Portuguese Short Film Director at IndieLisboa. For the second time in a row, Abrantes was awarded at Locarno, after receiving the Golden Leopard in 2010 for “A History of Mutual Respect”, also distinguished with the Media Recording Award for Portuguese Best Short Film in IndieLisboa’10.


HISTORY OF MUTUAL RESPECT, by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt




Palácios de Pena world Premiere Venice Film Festival 2011

Good news, Palácios de Pena, by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt will have its world premiere at Venice Film Festival in the Orizzonti competition of Medium Length films. The festival will run August 31- Sept 10.

For the list of the whole Orizzonti program: http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/news/orizzonti-section.html

Liberdade International Premiere at Locarno Film Festival 2011

Liberdade by Gabriel Abrantes and Benjamin Crotty will have it's international premiere at Locarno Film Festival, August 9th, 2011. It was previously shown at Indie Lisboa, where it won the prize of Best Directors in the National Competition.





Hi everyone, This is to invite you to the opening screening of Fratelli, a film I have made in collaboration with Alexandre Melo. It is showing at Vila do Conde Curtas Film Festival this Thursday 14 at 11PM and Friday 15 at 8PM. Fratelli at Curtas I also have another film that I made in collaboration with Pedro Gomes, showing in the exhibition Stereo, also at Vila do Conde - BABY BACK COSTA RICA

Bom dia, convido-vos para a estreia do Fratelli, um filme que fiz em colaboração com o Alexandre Melo. Está em Vila do Conde nas Curtas na quinta dia 14 as 23H00 e Sexta dia 15 as 20H00. Fratelli at Curtas Tenho outro filme, que fiz em colaboração com o Pedro Gomes, na exposição Stereo, também em Vila do Conde. BABY BACK COSTA RICA

Um abraço

A film adaptation of William Shakespeare prologue to the Taming of the Shrew, with portuguese dialogue, spoken with the Brazilian accent from Bahia, and filmed in the Lazzio region of Italy.
Uma adaptação do prólogo da “Fera Amansada” de William Shakespeare, com diálogos em português, representado com o sotaque brasileiro da Bahia, e filmado na província de Lazio em Itália.

Three teenage girls are heading home in their Mini Cooper S. They discuss their boyfriends, their boyfriend's mothers, their boyfriend's mother's cars, and Judaism. After making pizza they go swim in the pool. This film is part of the sub-genre of horror films where a vehicle is the protagonist, in this case a Mini Cooper S. Pedro Gomes developed an aggressive soundscape, working at the intersection of distorted post-rock guitar with horror film soundtrack tropes. It alternates in between a diagetic (music inside the car) and non-diagetic (music outside the car) register, which proposes it as something the girls consume, as well as something that consumes them, as it distinguishes and allocates them to a specific genre, and class.

Três raparigas estão a ser levadas para casa num Mini Cooper S. Falam sobre os namorados, as mães dos namorados, os carros das mães dos namorados e o judaísmo. Depois de aquecerem umas pizzas, vão nadar na piscina. Este filme faz parte de um sub-género de filmes de terror que se destacam pelo facto do protagonista ser representado por um carro, que é, neste caso, um Mini Cooper S. Pedro Gomes criou uma parede de som agressiva, cruzando guitarra distorcida com mecanismos das bandas sonoras de filmes de terror. O som varia numa relação diegética (musica dentro do carro) e não diegética (musica fora do carro), propondo-a como uma coisa que as teenagers consumem, e ao mesmo tempo uma coisa que as consume, distinguindo-as e as remetendo-as assim para um género e classe específicos.

Fratelli S-16MM 17 min Cor – Stereo / 5.1 2011

Realização, Argumento, e Produção de Gabriel Abrantes e Alexandre Melo. Fotografia e Montagem de imagem e som de Gabriel Abrantes.

Produzido por A Mutual Respect e A Vida Artística.

Na sequência de um convite dirigido pela Embaixada de Portugal em Itália no âmbito do ciclo “Visto de Roma” programado por Paulo Cunha e Silva, e apoiado pelo Instituto Camões

Adaptação do Prólogo da peça Taming of the Shrew de William Shakespeare

Direção de Produção de Miguel Sequeira Direção de Guarda Roupa de Olga Michalowska Assistente de Produção Edoardo Pasolini dall’Onda

Com o generoso apoio à Produção da Fondazione VOLUME!

Pós-produção de Imagem Light Film, Nova Imagem Correção de Cor Final Paulo Ines Correção de Cor Pedro Vilela

Pós-produção Som Óbviosom Mixagem Tiago Matos Bruitage Daniel Gries Gravação de Vozes Zé dos Bois

Os Fratelli Filipe Vargas Carloto Cotta Alexander David Anas Chouhaibi Claudio Fillipo Miguel Sequeira Francesca Merrino Romano Vitali Gabriel Abrantes Alexandre Melo

Vozes Filipe Vargas Carloto Cotta Alexander David João Vieira Torres Joana Nascimento Gabriel Abrantes Alexandre Melo

Música Gustav Mahler - Sinfonia n. 8 - Chorus mysticus: 'Alles vergangliche'

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Sonata for piano, 4 hands in B flat major, K. 358

Ludwig van Beethoven - Es Muss Sein!, WoO 196

Filmado no Giardino di Ninfa, Necropoli della Banditaccia di Cerveteri, L’Académie de France à Rome na Villa Médicis, e em Calcata

Guarda Roupa da Farani Sartoria Teatrale
Agradecimentos a Fernando d'Oliveira Neves (Embaixador de Portugal em Roma) e Isabel d’Oliveira Neves, Francesco Nucci (Presidente Fondazione VOLUME!), Daniela Bartoccini Nucci, Sabrina Nucci, Marilena Borriello, Silvia Marsano, Pauline Stanislas de Laboulaye, Éric de Chassey (diretor de L’Académie de France à Rome, Villa Médicis), Marianne Derrien, Paolo Portoghesi e Giovanna Massobrio, Aziz Zummuri, Ana Paula Aguiar (Light Film), Cristina Pereira (Kodak-Portugal), Cornelia Lauf, Fondazione Roffredo Caetani, Lauro Marchetti, Seneca Guruge, Soprintendenza Archeologica Per L'Etruria Meridionale, Rita Cosentino, Luigi Piccolo (Diretor Farani Sartoria Teatrale), Carmela Cardone, Daniela Ciancio, Germano, Mauro de Pasquali (Kodak-Rome), e Miguel Vlaverde
BABY BACK COSTA RICA S-16 MM transfered for HD, 16:9 Cor, 5 minutes, Stereo

Script, Directoring, Camera, Editing, Sound and Production: Gabriel Abrantes
Produced by: A Mutual Respect
Actors : Dory Castro, Mariana Roberto, Nuria Coelho
Music : Pedro Gomes
Recording : Pedro Alçada
Colorist : Pedro Vilela
Production Assistant : Joana Nascimento
Thanks to : Manuel Caeiro, Rui Brito


INVITATION - Liberdade - a Film by Gabriel Abrantes and Benjamin Crotty -

7 May, 18:45, Teatro do Bairro • 9 May, 19:00, Culturgest, GA • 12 May, 19:00, Teatro do Bairro
Sections of Festival Indie Lisboa: Emerging Cinema, National Competition

Fiction, Portugal 2011, 16′, DCP

Written and Directed by Gabriel Abrantes and Benjamin Crotty
Produced by a Mutual Respect
Produced by Zé dos Bois, Natxo Checa, and Gabriel Abrantes
Production Manager: Natxo Checa
Assistant Producers, Lisbon: Joana Botelho, Paulo Queiroz, Inês Castaño
Location Managers, Luanda: Orlando Sérgio
Assistant Producer, Luanda: Jaime de Jesus Alves Monteiro
Cast: Betty Meixue, Wilson Teixeira
Supporting Cast: Dadi, Dadinho, Gu Hong Zhen, Joel, Joelson Da Silva, Li Kun Qiong, Márcio Marcelino, Mu Yuan Shuai, Orlando Sérgio, Ricardo Matias, Wang Tian Guo, Zhou Jian

Director of Photography and Camera/Steadicam Operator: Eberhard Schedl
Location Sound Recording and Boom Operator: Oswald Juliana
Farmacy Set Design: Nelo Teixeira

Driver: Don Ruelas

Editing: Benjamin Crotty and Gabriel Abrantes
Final Color Correction: Paulo Inês
1st Color Correction: Pedro Vilela

Final Mixing: Tiago Matos
Post-Production Sound Editing: Amélia Sarmento
Post-Production Sound Recording and Premixing: Makoto Yagyu, Tiago Inuit
Dubbing: Mr. Isaac, Inês Gao, Meirinho, Marta Furtado, Natxo Checa, Gabriel Abrantes
Mixing Studio: Óbvio Som, Lisboa
Developing, Telecinema, and Post Production Image Studios: Light Film, Lisboa

Support: Comando Geral da Polícia Nacional, Comissão de moradores do prédio da Lagoa, Hospital Augusto N'Gangula, Força Aérea Angolana, Governo da Província de Luanda, Hotel Globo Luanda, Instituto Angolano de Cinema, Audiovisuais e Multimédia, Restaurante Bahia Luanda, Restaurante Shangai Bahia
Technical Support: Gripman/Equip. Filmagens, Filme Base/Cinesonics, Semba Audiovisuais.
Sponsors: Bogard/Cinema, LightFilm/Nova Imagem, Kodak Lisboa

Special Thanks: Alberto Cardoso,Ana Paula Aguiar,Cristina Pereira,Christophe Khim, Eliseu Laurindo, Exmº Comandante da Força Aérea Angolana, Exmº Comissário Ambrósio de Lemos, Gita Cerveira, Jack Juyiui, Joaquim Pinto, Marta Furtado, Mário de Almeida, Nuno Borges, Nuno Lima, Olivier Quennesson, Pedro Ramalhoso e Vasco Ribon

Filmed on Kodak Vision III S-16mm Film
Dolby Digital in Selected Theatres
Copy Support: ICA – Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual

Financial Support of Toyota Angola

® A Mutual Respect . All Rights Reserved.