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Out Of This World: The Cinema of Rita Azevedo Gomes

MUBI Special

The world seems to stop when watching the films of Portuguese filmmaker Rita Azevedo Gomes—it is as if they existed outside of our time and space. Strongly rooted in literature, theatre, and opera, hers is a cinema of rare purity and groundbreaking artifice, of impossible passions and unforgettable images of longing and solitude.

With traces of Marguerite Duras as well as Manoel de Oliveira, and delving deep into the intricacies of the feminine universe, Azevedo Gomes’s work deconstructs the idea of classicism through theatricality, and is not afraid of capriciously embracing history as a way of reflecting on today’s state of affairs. Rabidly modern yet artisanal in its form and storytelling, these films reveal a singular vision where the weight of memories and words are tangible. Azevedo Gomes’ language exhibits not only a staggering beauty and intimate poetry, but also a mature, erudite ethos that surfaces her draw towards theory, nourished over thirty years of work at the Portuguese Cinematheque as a programmer and in charge of publications.

Starting with one of her most recent festival successes, the sublime Musil adaptation The Portuguese Woman, our series then plunges into earlier works such as Fragile as the World, arguably one of the most achingly beautiful love stories of cinema, and A Woman’s Revenge, the stunning, mysterious puzzle that brought her international acclaim, to end up with her epistolary essay triumph Correspondences.

Rita Azevedo Gomes’ work remains tragically underseen and we couldn’t be prouder to be offering to our audience the possibility of embarking on this revelatory journey to a new world, outside of ours.

The Portuguese Woman

Rita Azevedo Gomes Portugal, 2018

We’re thrilled to open our focus on Portuguese luminary Rita Azevedo Gomes and her sublime cinema of artifice with one of her latest marvels. This 16th century tale of a woman’s torpor, based on a Robert Musil novella, comes to life through theatrical splendour and striking, painterly compositions.

Fragile as the World

Rita Azevedo Gomes Portugal, 2002

Next in our focus on Rita Azevedo Gomes is the Portuguese filmmaker’s serene sophomore feature: a strikingly stylized, fable-like story of impossible young love. Impeccably crafted, Fragile as the World is both rigorous and delicate, oscillating poetically between black and white and color.

A Woman's Revenge

Rita Azevedo Gomes Portugal, 2012

From auteur Rita Azevedo Gomes comes this ghostly, elegantly-shot adaptation of the 19th century classic Les diaboliques. Featuring a thrilling performance by Rita Durão, A Woman’s Revenge echoes both Manoel de Oliveira’s late-period movies and the bold filmmaking of Eugène Green.

Correspondences

Rita Azevedo Gomes Portugal, 2016

Affection and longing imbue the correspondence at the heart of Rita Azevedo Gomes’ poetic essay, conveyed through living tableaux in which the director’s friends read the letters, reflect, perform. Images, words, languages and sounds are woven together into an intimate, contemplative constellation.

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