IndieLisboa’10: Days 3 & 4

By Robert Koehler

Revolution Day! 25 April marks the 36th anniversary of Portugal’s liberation from the corrosive Salazar dictatorship which had been the country’s yoke for decades. I didn’t even plan to wear a color-appropriate t-shirt for the occasion–just tossed on whatever was hanging in my hotel room closet. This is a mere block from my hotel, looking south down Ave. de Liberdade from Marques Pombal square. The annual parade/demo/manifestation begins at this square, and proceeds south down Liberdade, past the Sao Jorge cinemas where the festival begins and ends. Note the red flags in the background…

A mother brings her child to 25 April, walking down shady Liberdade. That’s the revolution’s trademark carnation that the child is waving. The lovely tilework lines the sidewalks throughout central Lisbon.


An old veteran of the Revolution returns to the scene of victory 36 years ago….


A tank from the Revolution leads the march down Liberdade. This guy had an effectively booming voice, leading the charge….


One of the tank’s tires, appropriately decorated…


The march begins a moment after this was shot, as a breeze catches the Portuguese flag…


Marching down Liberdade, 25 Abril is in full red….

The two-screen Londres cinemas are one of the festival’s central spots, especially with the Magnolia Cafe (our common lunch and dinner spot) just steps away under the same roof. This is the door handle leading to Theatre Two, where I had just viewed Peter Mettler’s characteristically amazing cinema–in this case, his mid-length Petropolis, commissioned by Greenpeace Canada, observing Canada’s vast oil tar sands refinery project, so vast that it can only be perceived from an airborne helicopter, which is precisely what Mettler does. It is unforgettable and terrifying viewing.


The lobby of the Londres, with the Magnolia Cafe off to the right, leading off to the screens….

The Londres, between Theatres 1 and 2….

In the Londres lobby, leading to the Magnolia Cafe, with a poster for one of the International Competition films: Goran Devic’s and Zvonimir Juric’s The Blacks, which will soon appear in Los Angeles at the Southeast Europe film festival….

The cafe off the Londres, through a frame…

Still the film of all films this year (we’re nearly a third done, folks), James Benning’s Ruhr is the kind of work that IndieLisboa was built for: to confront audiences with genuinely independent cinema, made by the sensibilities of the filmmaker(s) alone. The festival lacks the sufficiently large screen for which Ruhr is best suited, the conditions under which I saw it in Rotterdam (at the Pathe). But the larger point is that Benning is being screened, and that Ruhr is traveling beyond Rotterdam and Berlin. Los Angeles viewers, for once, already know what the rest of the world is discovering: Digital cinema has now fully come into its own….

The poster in the Londres lobby of Pelin Esmer’s 10 to 11, screening here in the International Competition. Have yet to see, but Esmer has reportedly trimmed ten minutes from the version which world premiered in Turkey…

And steps down from the Magnolia Cafe, the gallery Micro Arte….

There is this myth that Lisbon is built on seven hills; a lie. More like 700: hardly a street is level, and instead gently slopes uphill or downhill, and often within the same block. This is classic Lisbon building colors, pastels, tilting toward lovely taupes and pinks…

Guess what this is…

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