Previously at the ICA - Films
18 Oct 2008 – 20 Oct 2008
Sandro Aguilar's strange, elliptical debut feature more than fulfils the promise revealed in his numerous experimental shorts. A lugubrious man named Rui (António Pedroso) visits his dying father in a Lisbon hospital, where he meets an unnamed pregnant woman (Isabel Abreu), survivor of a car accident in which her lover has died. But have they met before and if so when? The zone of the Portugese title refers to the emotionally-charged space of the hospital, where much of the action takes place, but equally could refer to a Lynchian liminal space between life and death, where familiar narrative and temporal logic is suspended. If that sounds forbiddingly cerebral, it's anything but. Uprise's formal daring is anchored by beautifully weighted lead performances and a perfectly sustained downbeat mood; the viewer is gradually drawn by phenomenal cinematography and sound design into an immersive realm where certain scenes have an almost uncanny potency – small wonder that the film haunts you for days after seeing it. Aguilar is part of a thriving experimental auteur scene in Portugal that includes the likes of Miguel Gomes and Joao Pedro Rodrigues, channelling the anarchic spirit of João César Monteiro. That said, Aguilar is very much his own man, and on the evidence here seems destined to become one of Portugal's brightest talents.
LFF programme text by Keiron Corless.
Dir-Scr Sandro Aguilar, with Isabel Abreu, António Pedroso and Cátia Afonso, Portugal 2008, 99 mins