Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival


LEFFEST '21 Program Highlights

Celebrating its 15th anniversary with an ambitious program promising to be one of its best editions ever, LEFFEST - the Lisbon & Sintra Film Festival - , will take place between Lisbon and Sintra from the 10th - 21st November.

Selected by a jury composed of director, screenwriter, actor and musician Emir Kusturica; Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee; director, screenwriter and producer Maria Speth and actress Dolores Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, the festival's prizes, conceived by artist Julião Sarmento, will emerge from the Official Competition section: a dozen films coming from very diverse cinematographies and directed both by renowned authors and by young talent urgently awaiting discovery.

The Out of Competition section brings us a selection from some of the most anticipated films of the year, opening with Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, closely followed by Benedetta, by Paul Verhoeven, Parallel Mothers, by Pedro Almodóvar, Paris, 13th District, by Jacques Audiard, The Card Counter, by Paul Schrader, and Pathos / Ethos / Logos by Portuguese directing duo Joaquim Pinto and Nuno Leonel.

At the heart of LEFFEST’s 15th edition is an extensive celebration of Romani Culture, including several film screenings, a tribute to director Tony Gatlif, who will be present, concerts by Josémi Carmona's flamenco trio featuring guest artist Pepe Habichuela, performances by the great bailaor Farruquito, the mythical Taraf de Caliu, by Mónika Lakatos - the first Roma artist to receive the WOMEX award -, by Portuguese fado singer Ricardo Ribeiro, who recognizes Roma music as one of his main influences, and, at the festival's closing ceremony, by Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra.

The festival also organizes three historical debates (focusing on three moments: from Al-Andalus to “Gran-Redada” in 1749; the persecution and genocide of the Roma people by the Nazis during World War II; the current situation in Western Europe), and a spotlight on the work of Romani artist and holocaust survivor Ceija Stojka, bringing to Portugal, for the first time, an exhibition of her paintings, readings of her writing and the screening of the films Ceija Stojka and Unter den Brettern Gras by Karin Berger.

The Tributes and Retrospectives section is dedicated to seven great names in film: New Zealand director Jane Campion (with a comprehensive retrospective of her work, which includes the long-awaited film The Power of the Dog, for which she received the award for best director at this year’s Venice Film Festival); Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, who will present the national previews of his two most recent films, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Silver Bear and Jury Grand Prix at the Berlin Festival) and Drive My Car (Official Selection in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the prize for Best Screenplay, the FIPRESCI Prize and the Ecumenical Jury Prize); Romanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu, one of the biggest names in contemporary Romanian cinema; German filmmaker Maria Speth, who won the Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival with her latest film Mr. Bachmann and his class, to premiere at this year’s LEFFEST; acclaimed British documentary filmmaker Mike Dibb, who will present his new film Painted With My Hair, a world premiere; and “Work in Progress”, highlighting Rodrigo Areias work as director and producer. The festival also devotes special attention to the theatre with stage director Romeo Castellucci, one of Europe’s leading names in theater today, through a masterclass and several screenings of his filmed stagings.

"God died and his death was the life of the world." Philipp Mainländer's statement is the premise of the thematic cycle "The Death of God", curated by Alexey Artamonov, Denis Ruzaev and Ines Branco López. The concept, which has fascinated philosophers, poets, theologians and artists since Nietzsche, poses a seemingly irresolvable and impossible paradox:  the idea of God being dead and yet life, spiritual life in particular, continuing despite it. It’s an idea that finds both answers and questions in cinema, as an art of shadows in our modern caves. We'll discover them in seven chapters.

In the CinemART section, seeking to explore cinema through its fusion with other arts, LEFFEST will screen three films by Portuguese director Henrique Pina (exploring the relationship between cinema, dance and architecture) and, in a national premiere, Memory Box, the new film by artists and filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige.

Through the Educational Programme, especially dedicated to the school community, the festival assumes its responsibility for training and developing critical thinking in children and young people through cinema.

LEFFEST ‘21 takes place at the Medeia Nimas Cinema, Teatro Tivoli BBVA and Teatro Nacional D.Maria II in Lisbon, and at Centro Cultural Olga Cadaval and MU.SA – Sintra Museum of Arts, in Sintra. Concert tickets will be on sale starting October 1st. Tickets to the festival go on sale October 21st.
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