Filmmakers of the Present
Rarely does one see in a debut work such a capacity to turn to the moments of maximum acceleration of an entire cinematography and at the same time to present something unclassifiable as well as never seen before. For Portuguese cinema, Pedro Cabeleira’s Verão Danado (Damned Summer) holds the same importance as did Paulo Rocha’s Os Verdes Anos (1963) and Pedro Costa’s O Sangue (1989). Not only its generational incursion, but also its filmic transfiguration, its interpretation, as a desire that life and images correspond in a sort of reciprocal auto-revolution. The imperturbable heedlessness of youth and the melancholy of a precocious maturity. The instinct to kill the fathers and the affectionate respect for what they have done. But most of all the refusal of the ideological aspect, an ethical commitment not to pass judgement and to translate at all costs the cruel tale of youth into an experience that is exclusively visual and sound-based (pay attention to that soundtrack!). Verão Danado is a lysergic journey made up of the changeability of its characters and the fleeting nature of its images. Between the two planes Cabeleira literally dances with the camera, making it the real star of the film, an adrenaline-filled and sabotaging gaze in search of absolute dissemination and blindness. Do Chico and his friends know the significance of consequences? Do they love life enough or will they continue to teeter along the edge of the abyss? There are no answers. There is the idea of life as an experiment, the document of the tragic and sublime passage of beautiful and lost souls. Exactly like the images: blind and angelic.
By Lorenzo Esposito