Cinema in Portugal has been critically acclaimed for centuries for depicting realism and neo-realism in a way that was entertaining, thought provoking and empowering. Some movie critics identify the two decades between 1930 and 1950 as the golden age in Portuguese cinema.
After stagnating for a while, the industry came back with a bang. “Cinema Novo” which on literal translation means New Cinema was born in the middle of the 1960s and was similar to Italian Neorealism and French New Wave movies that had become the trademark of the doyens of European cinema at that time.
To this day, it continues to be looked at favorably by movie critics, international award jurists and the audience, for being sharp, realistic and for constant experimentation with different genres in an attempt to move the medium and industry forward.
Some of the best Portuguese films of all time are
Aniki Bobo (1942)
Aniki Bobo has consistently made it to international lists of best movies of all time. It was directed by Monoel de Oliveira who used child artists and friendship and a budding love story as a medium to question the prevalent social and political norms and the moral ambiguity and double standards of the day. It is considered a precursor of Italian neorealism.
Alice is a noir where the director Marco Martins captures Lisbon through the lens of shadiness and darkness and uses a chiaroscuro of light and darkness as an overarching theme. In this film, a father becomes obsessed with his missing daughter, the eponymous Alice, goes through emotional churns and upheavals again and again while contrastingly the mother bears the grief with apathy bordering on nonchalance, sadness in an understated manner and stoicism. This drives a wedge between their relationship and the movie beautifully depicts how a tragedy can completely change equations and bring about destruction because of emotional instability.
The Tyrannical Father (1941)
Arguably the greatest product of the golden age of Portuguese cinema, this is a comic and hilarious take on the prewar social norms, the ambiguous moral compass that was used differently for different social groups all wrapped up in deadpan humor, mirroring the social criticism of American silent movies.
Best Portuguese Awards
Sophia Awards are the national film awards of Portugal and is presented by the Academia Portuguesa de Cinema and is aimed at recognizing the amazing skills, talents, concepts and most importantly the passion and creativity of people who are involved in the making of a film.
Golden Globe (Portugal)
The Golden Globes or Globos de Oura was started in 1996 and has been jointly presented every year since then by Caras Magazine and SIC TV. It aims to recognize achievements and breakthrough performances in several areas of art and entertainment.
Portuguese movies have been entertaining the audience for over a century and one can hope with a degree of certitude that there won’t be any disruption to it anytime soon since the reins lie in capable hands of Miguel Gomez, Joao Canijo and many others.