Cedro Plátano


Il Manifesto - 30/10/2018

“La memoria invisibile dei luoghi dai boschi alle strade portoghesi”


The Almirante Reis Avenue – a long avenue in the heart of Lisbon – presently only retains the name of the wretched admiral it owes its name to: a militant from the Carbonari that in the beginning of 1900 was planning to overthrow the Monarchy and the person who tried to commit suicide a few days before the Proclamation of the Republic in October 1910, since he wrongly believed having been betrayed by his own troops. His sad story is told at the beginning of the film “Almirante Reis Avenue in 3 movements” directed by Renata Sancho that premiered in the National Competition of the Portuguese festival [Doclisboa] (…). But the real protagonist of Renata Sancho’s film is the avenue itself, its own history and the stories that happened in it through the decades.
The three movements the title refers to are the different materials that make up this portrayal full of affection for the Almirante Reis Avenue: the written testimonials – like the one about the admiral’s last days – the archive footage and the material shot by the director on the avenue as it is nowadays, about its residents, shops, bars, newsstands, passers-by. Cinema Império is currently a restaurant but the archive images show us the period of the 1960s, when the female employees who worked there would tell the Portuguese television channel about the spectators’ taste: “the tickets for the first balcony are immediately sold out when French films are screened”, or about the story of how a nameplate was put under one of the seats as a reminder of the favourite spot normally reserved for the officer Gago Coutinho.

Home to a numerous Chinese community, the Almirante Reis Avenue is becoming more and more affected by a gentrification process. However, similarly to what happens almost all over the city, the touristic spots coexist with the most common ones, such as typical Portuguese bakeries, the local markets and the Chinese hairdressers – a community with which the Portuguese seem to share a similar feeling of longing for a faraway land. Through Sancho’s editing, the archive film shows the red flags that fulfilled the avenue during the 1st of May of 1974 (a few days after the Carnation Revolution) alternate with the dragons and the dances during the celebration of the Chinese New Year. The director is thus able to depict the meeting and coexistence between the past and the present of this great avenue in Lisbon in which the peaceful day-to-day hides the history traces and, at the same time, writes the ones still to come.

Giovanna Branca

JN - 28/10/2018 

“"Greetings from the Free Forests" e "Terra" vencem prémios principais do DocLisboa” 

À Pala de Walsh - 27/10/2018 

“Doclisboa 2018 em dez filmes (parte II)”


One would think that this observational camera, alert even if a bit distant, would have the tendency to look with disenchantment to the phenomenon of multiculturalism, since it has “invaded” the city, destroying its characteristics – that was not the reason why the people went on the streets on that sunny day of the distant 1974… Yet, I believe that the film will only incite this type of commentary from those who can’t relativize the yearning for the Lisbon that’s gone. 

Luís Mendonça

Expresso - 26/10/2018

“Dois filmes sobre gente empurrada para fora”


The film has 66 minutes and is called “Almirant Reis Avenue in three movements”. It premiered at the National Competition of Doclisboa 2018 with this title because, according to the director, it is, after all, “a game between times”: the time of the photographic archive, the time of the film archive and contemporaneity. However, for those who watch it, it’s mostly a declaration of love for two and half kilometres of one of the main avenues in Lisbon.

Renata Sancho chose the scenes with surgical precision to tell us a story about an artery that is currently known by its intense commerce and multiculturalism, but that was also an area filled with union, cultural and combative activity. It goes from the early days of the Republic to the 1st of May of 1974 and then to the graffiti “Out Temer” plastered on a wall on the avenue with a rare and impressive subtlety. It tells us about the past and the present, never imposing a personal or moralistic view. We can tell that she knows that part of the city like the back of her hand and that’s beautiful. “How do you put a whole avenue in a single film?”, asks the director herself, who ends up confessing: “It took a long time for me to be in peace with this film. What was left out – which is a lot – will be compiled in a book. It’s the way for me to redeem myself.” 
Joana Beleza

Sábado - 23/10/2018 

“Doclisboa, um festival ao serviço do conhecimento”

Expresso - 20/10/2018

“Encontros prodigiosos no DocLisboa”


A person who also tells us about meetings with the past that show up in the present is Renata Sancho in one of the films that also stands out, “Almirante Reis Avenue in 3 Movements.”
It begins with RTP [Public Broadcasting Channel] archive showing the avenue which goes through Lisbon sometime during the end of the 1970s and with the tragic story, told in a voice-over, about the lasts days of the admiral [Almirante Reis], during the dawn of the implementation of the Republic. It leaps to the archive about the 1st of May of 1974 in Alameda (…), a bit after Fernando Lopes passes by on top of a car, during a film shooting. Glauber Rocha is also there.
The time machine goes back to the opening of the artery in 1908.
This film, with no more oracles or footnotes, isn’t [nostalgic] at all: what the filmmaker’s observational method searches for afterwards is the lost architecture; the small business trying to resist while waiting for the end; the life of other communities, mostly the Chinese one, that knew how to find their place; the hard work occurring in the basements and chambers of restaurants. If Almirante Reis is a Republican avenue, it also is, as it has always been (from Chile Square downwards), a working-class avenue that embraced the first metal and the factory workers’ unions. And its massive transformation, a mirror of our time.

Francisco Ferreira