April 3, 2024

Play-Doc presents the first European retrospective of Leon Hirszman, a key figure of Brazilian Cinema Novo

The twentieth edition of Play-Doc, International Film Festival, which will take place from 1st to 5th May in the city of Tui, Galicia, will feature a series of retrospectives, focus programmes, restorations and special sessions that will be complemented by competitive programmes and other activities. On this occasion, in addition to the announced tribute to William Friedkin, Play-Doc will present a wide-ranging retrospective of Brazilian filmmaker Leon Hirszman – the first outside Latin America –, the international presentation of the first short films by British director David Gladwell and the world premiere of the restoration of Kriegsende, by German filmmaker Viola Stephan. In addition, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, the festival will present a special screening of the emblematicAs armas e o povo.

Leon Hirszman

After his untimely death at the age of 49, Leon Hirszman‘s name grew in recognition in Brazilian cinema. An early member of the founding group of Cinema Novo – his first short film, Pedreira de São Diogo, was part of Cinco vezes favela, the founding film of that movement – Hirszman directed films that exposed, between the 1960s and 1980s, the deep-rooted contradictions in Brazil’s social formation. An heir to cinematic realism and with a strong political commitment, Hirszman was also particularly sensitive to popular music, which he considered a social manifestation and the authentic collective representation of the Brazilian cultural tradition, producing some of the most valuable documents of the history of samba.

In its first European retrospective, Play-Doc brings together his four most important feature films: A falecida (1965), São Bernardo (1972), Eles não usam black-tie (1979) and his posthumous film ABC da Greve (1990), as well as four short films that show his different artistic and thematic facets: Pedreira de São Diogo (1962), Maioria absoluta (1964), Nelson Cavaquinho (1969) and Partido alto (1982). Maria Hirszman, his daughter, will come to Tui to talk about her father’s legacy.

Viola Stephan

German filmmaker and producer Viola Stephan began working in the late 1970s as a theatre director in New York, where she also studied film directing. She has been making documentaries since 1979, most of them set in the USA or Russia, and has also produced some of Victor Kossakovsky’s most notable works. Her films portray everyday life in cities with a documentary approach and a unique style. Play-Doc will have the privilege of screening the world premiere of the restoration of Kriegsende (1993). Stephan, as well as those responsible for the restoration, Vivien Buchhorn and Jana Cisar, will be in Tui presenting this gem from the 1990s.

David Gladwell 

Renowned editor of great British filmmakers such as Lindsay Anderson, James Ivory and Hugh Hudson, among others, David Gladwell directed several fiction films, documentaries and experimental shorts that have not had their deserved circulation. At Play-Doc we will present the extraordinary and visually original four short films he made at the beginning of his long career: A Summer Discord (1955), Miss Thompson Goes Shopping (1958), The Great Steam Fair (1964) and An Untitled Film (1964).

50 anos da Revolución dos Caraveis

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, which took place between 25th April and 1st May 1974, As armas e o povo (1975), a collective film illustrating the first six days of the revolution that put an end to the dictatorship in Portugal, will be screened. The film was shot by several Portuguese directors, including António da Cunha Telles and Fernando Lopes, who were joined by the Brazilian Glauber Rocha, exiled in Portugal. An inescapable work of militant European cinema, As armas e o povo is also a manifesto on the relationship between cinema and politics, not only as a mere disseminator of events, but as an active participant in the revolutionary act. The restoration of this emblematic film will be presented at the festival as a Spanish premiere. Play-Doc is grateful for the collaboration of Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do Cinema.