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Pathos Ethos Logos: three lives and an image of the world

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Every 50 years, an unidentified, unaligned, unreconciled object like Pathos Ethos Logos (2021) has to come down to Earth to expose the mutual irreducibility of words and images. For what we have here is a cinema that eludes our desire to capture it in a sentence. A cinema too invested in the totality of the present for us to make an “idea” of it, or even worse, a synopsis. But how could we not trust the words of Luis Miguel Cintra, who, as a participant of this liturgical experience, must have come close to its secret?  “I don’t recognize this form; this most chameleon-like of films”, he says. “And yet it’s got its own interesting organization... I conclude, ecstatic: this is a new cinema.”

It is common knowledge that newness cannot arrive without repetition, without a temporal background that makes it recognizable. It is important to remind ourselves, then, that Joaquim Pinto and Nuno Leonel have been carving out their own vital path through both Portuguese and international cinema for three decades now. A vitality that reached one of its highest peaks with the autobiographic What Now? Remind Me (2013), winner of the Special Jury Prize at Locarno Festival. In a world of “bad days”, epidemics and clinical trials, the filmmakers showed us an animal kingdom that kept wanting to stay alive. A secret pact was forged and filmed between slugs, humans and dogs: to never give up existence, in its fullest and most profound sense.

With Pathos Ethos Logos, Joaquim Pinto and Nuno Leonel recapture these “themes” (let’s call them that, as if this care and attention towards the general community of human and non-human beings isn’t the most urgent problem of our post-pandemic life). But they lead us where cinema rarely dares to go. For this time the duo needed to reimagine the very fabric of time so that their film – and, more specifically, three distinct lives and an entire image of the world – could fit in it. The lives are those of Ângela (played by the production director of the film, Ângela Cerveira), Rafaela (actress Rafaela Jacinto) and Fabiana (Fabiana Silva, in her acting debut). The film’s plot is set in 2028, 2017 and 2037, a dense hypertext where the regions of the factual and the poetic, where philosophy and religion, are blended and revitalized. The amazed spectator travels through a network of episodes that doesn’t abandon the possibilities of narrative cinema, giving them instead a new horizon.

There is no observed system that does not include the observer, as cybernetic studies have known for a long time. Consequently, what happens to a film when it sets its eyes on this monstruous thing that is the state of the world? It gets shattered into pieces, of course. And the timid two hours that one expects turn into a monumental 641 minutes. The last protective barrier, that of “fiction”, also gives in. Who can tell where the documentary ends and the apocalyptic fantasy begins? Couldn’t we see the year of 2037 in 2017? The virtuality of our fears, our dreams and our faith – does it not inform our capacity to act on our actual conditions of being? That is why we find, in this film, those who ask what it means to be a mother, knowing an ecological and civilizational disaster is imminent, and those who see no other option but to go out and join up with Doctors Without Borders.

This total cinema will have its national premiere at LEFFEST ’21, as part of the Out of Competition section. It will be shown at Cinema Nimas, on November 19th, 20th and 21st. The festival also organizes a soon to be announced series of talks between the participants of the film.

Pathos Ethos Logos marks an end and a new beginning; it now awaits an audience whose sensibility can match the film’s newness.

Programa
Cinema Medeia Nimas

PATHOS - First Part
November 19th

Presented by:
  • Luis Miguel Cintra
  • Abbot Bernardino da Costa (Singeverga Monastery) 
  • Mother Maria do Carmo Tovar (Prioress, Santa Escolástica Monastery)

ETHOS - Second Part
November 20th 

Presented by:
  • Rafaela Jacinto (actress)
  • João Antunes (Doctors Without Borders Portugal)

LOGOS - Thrid Part
November 21st

Presented by:
  • Ângela Cerveira (actress) 
  • Martim Grange (Facilitator and trainer for Climate Fresk)


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