Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival

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Wim Wenders united with his audience

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The German director, screenwriter and photographer Wim Wenders, one of the honored guests at this year’s LEFFEST, had an activity-filled Saturday.  With a never-ending availability, Wenders showed up not only in the scheduled sessions, but he also surprised the spectators at the end of the Lisbon Story session.

At 3 PM, at the Water Museum – Mãe d’Água das Amoreriras Reservoir, Wenders was present at the opening of his exhibit “In broad daylight even the sounds shine” – Wim Wenders Scouting in Portugal, comprised of photographs he took in Portugal, whiel shooting his various films set in Portugal. After a complete tour of the exhibit, Wenders, with the audience, journalists and friends around him, he told them how Paulo Branco, director of the festival, had once told him they’d make an exhibit with his photographs one day. Thanking all the people who made the exhibit possible, Wenders said that Water Museum in Lisbon was the best water museum in the world and nicknamed it Wetropolitan, because it’s so wet.

When he reached Cinema Medeia Monumental, Wenders surprised the spectators, by showing up at the end of the Lisbon Story session, where his appearance wasn’t scheduled. After that, The State of Things was screened and followed by a discussion with the director and Paulo Branco, director of the festival, who also produced the film.

Wenders told how, when he reached Europe, after working in Hollywood, he heard that the movie Raúl Ruiz was shooting in Sintra ran out of film. Since he had brought extra film, Wenders took it to the crew. He was so enchanted by the relaxing work environment, by contrast with the one he’d left in Hollywood, that he suggested to Paulo Branco making a film with the same crew, in two weeks. Wenders and Paulo Branco had a lively conversation about the film’s production process, with some questions from the audience as well.

In the screening of Every Thing Will Be Fine, the only one in 3D in Portugal, with a sold out venue, Wim Wenders asked the audience to let go of their prejudice about 3D and follow his characters in this “intimate and subtle drama”, that could happen to any of us.

Wenders talked about his first experience with 3D in Pina and how fascinated he was when he discovered how this tool could reveal the “presence of Bausch’s dancers”, in the portraits he made of them at the end of the film. This “presence”, so real and simple, was what drove him to make a fictional film in 3D, which he describes as a “window to reach the characters’ humanity”, in clear contrast with the way 3D is used in current cinema, mostly for entertainment and fantasy, and not to reach reality.                   

“If, during the screening, you forget you’re watching a film in 3D, that is the biggest compliment you could pay me”, he concluded, before saying goodbye to an audience that applauded him keenly.

Late in the evening, at Centro Cultural de Cascais, the German director watched a fado session in tribute to him. Catarina Wallenstein was the first to climb onto the stage, beginning with a thrilling rendition of Amor de Mel, Amor de Fel, followed by three more fados and finishing with Prece. Pedro Moutinho climbed to the stage right after, singing five fados as well, including Lisboa Menina e Moça. Lastly, Ana Moura conquered the audience with a rendition of A Fadista, followed by a powerful performance that ended with Por que Teimas Nesta Dor. Accompanying them were the musicians Pedro Soares (acoustic guitar) and Ângelo Freire (Portuguese guitar).

Throughout the session, all “fadistas” underlined the honor they felt for singing for Wim Wenders, who was noticeably thrilled, watching from the first row.
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