The cinema of Portuguese Rita Azevedo Gomes and French-Russian Pierre Léon has long been intertwined: through performances, through a shared cinephile spirit, and most recently through a direct teaming-up on the magnificent Danses macabres, which earned a Special Mention at FIDMarseille 2019.
Our double retrospective is the first to acknowledge and celebrate this creative partnership between two of the finest and most underrated filmmakers working today. Through these 12 titles, several of which have never before appeared with English subtitles, you can trace the intellectual lines that thread from one film to another, the invisible pathways that connect seemingly disparate works produced across countries and formats, with budgets and crews larger or virtually non-existent, with stars like Jeanne Balibar, Mattieu Amalric, or Ingrid Caven, featuring presences as commanding as Luis Miguel Cintra or Bernard Eisenschitz, and of course with appearances by filmmakers like Manoel de Oliveira or Serge Bozon.
This program spans historical epics (The Portuguese Woman), chamber dramas (A Woman's Revenge), Dostoevsky adaptations (Deux Rémi, deux, L'Idiot), small-scale, idiosycratic experiments (Altar, Phantom Power), an historical investigation into the filmmakers' family (Nissim says Max) an expansive film made of a single conversation (The 15th Stone). We investigate two giant influences, one on Léon (Biette, about the great critic and editor of Trafic) and one on Azevedo Gomes (João Bénard da Costa, former director of Cinemateca Portuguesa in Lisbon, represented by a film by Manuel Mozos and a film by Azevedo Gomes) All these in works by either Rita Azevedo Gomes, Pierre Léon, or others—including Vladimir Léon, Pierre's brother and a singular filmmaker in his own right—and culminating in the great Danses macabres, which is itself about the very act of collaborating: in thought, in cinema, and in living in a way as fragile as the world.
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