Cedro Plátano

Director’s note

Almirante Reis Avenue in 3 movements portrays this long avenue in Lisbon. We go up and down the avenue through archive pictures going back to the Admiral Reis story during the Republican Revolution and its opening in 1908 when the large crowds of the Republican rallies took place until the massive occupation during the 1st of May 1974 after the April 25th Revolution. The construction and growth of the Almirante Reis Avenue followed the 20th century and the avenue could be like a time machine we go through everyday.

In recent years the city of Lisbon has been under great real estate and tourist pressure causing great transformations in the traditional commerce and even in the relocation of its inhabitants, during 2016 and 2018 we register the daily life of the avenue in the present following the everyday life of those who work and live there.

I live on the avenue since 1973. I have always lived in Lisbon. My intention in making this film was not to make a portrait of the process of gentrification that is happening now in Lisbon and a little throughout Europe, but rather a reflection on the individual and collective memory of my own city. Personally, this avenue represents the idea of popular occupation of the streets mainly during the republican revolution in 1910 and during the massive parade of Labour Day in 1974. All the archive footage selected to be in the film was never shown previously and was rescued from oblivion in the archives. The wonderful images - in colour and without sound - of the 1st of May were hidden treasures of found footage until now. I chose these images: “a parade of ghosts” of directors and writers that I admire and whose presence surprised me greatly. Some of the ghosts are the directors Glauber Rocha, João César Monteiro and Fernando Lopes and also the writers such as Carlos de Oliveira, José Gomes Ferreira and Vergílio Ferreira.

Nowadays, the avenue is populated by the new communities that live and work in Lisbon (Chinese, Africans, Brazilians) that cohabit with its traditional inhabitants. We shoot between 2016 and 2018 and most of the places portrayed have recently closed, so this film rests as a document of the transformation of the city.

Renata Sancho