Gijón: Aguilar’s Uprise intrigues audiences

Article published on Nov. 28, 2008
Article published on Nov. 28, 2008
Faithful to its principle of programme emerging directors making films that reject linear codes and mainstream aesthetics, the sidebar section Llendes of the 46th Gijón Film Festival, has presented this week the feature debut by Portuguese director Sandro Aguilar, Uprise (A Zona).

The 34-year-old Aguilar, whose short films screened in Gijón’s previous editions, has made a non-linear film that begins with a strange meeting between a man (António Pedroso) and a woman (Isabel Abreu) in a Lisbon hospital. He is facing the death of his father. She has just lost her husband in a car crash and has a new baby in her arms.

Maybe they have met before, but where and under which circumstances? If viewers were thinking that Uprise was going to be a reinvented and lugubrious version of The Last Year in Marienbad, they soon realised that Aguilar’s universe is actually closer to Lynch than Resnais.

Elliptical, rejecting both chronological logic and a straightforward plot, Uprise seems to be an attempt to illustrate an emotionally charged “zone” situated somewhere between life and death; between reality and memories; between the past and a future that will never happen because death has arrived too soon.

“When you lose someone, everything becomes the arena of a consciousness that connects us to our surroundings, to ghosts and shadows,” explains Aguilar. “It is a breakdown in our life since it turns the self inwards, and every single thing has to be reinvented into being what can be let go. In putting everything on the same level, it is, paradoxically, extremely liberating”.

A Zona was produced by Lisbon-based O Som e a Fúria, which Aguilar founded in 1998 with producer João Figueiras, who has since then been replaced by Luís Urbano (Producer in the Move 2007). Besides Uprise, the company was also behind this year’s Cannes’ Directors Fortnight title Our Beloved Month of August.

Vitor Pinto