SOCIO-POLITICAL PERSPECTIVES ON PORTUGUESE ANIMATION CINEMA
Catarina Gil (Portugal)
1 – Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
Master student in Cinema at Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (FCSH) of the Nova University, Lisbon, with a research interest in the political and social aspects of animation cinema. Currently writing a master thesis about the sociopolitical dimensions of portuguese animation, focusing on the legacy of Abi Feijó. Moreover, working in an animated short film directed by Pedro Serrazina. In 2018 directed and animated a short film under the supervision of Pedro Serrazina and José Miguel Ribeiro, “Querido Algarve”, which was nominated for the National Animation Award by Casa da Animação (2018), for Best Student Short Film by MONSTRA (2019) and screened at Porto/Post/Doc: Film & Media Festival (2018).
The importance of discussing animation cinema, in this specific case “Portuguese” animation, is to demystify the idea of animation being destined exclusively to children and to clarify the socio-political positions it conveys. Talking about animation cinema is talking about ideologies, concepts, thoughts, dreams inserted in a historical, political, ideological, environmental, social and personal context that communicates with its contemporaneity.
The relationship that Portuguese animation establishes with the world and society is immediately understood when one returns to its origins and analyzes the first known portuguese animated film, “O Pesadelo de António Maria” (1923) by Joaquim Guerreiro. The confrontation with the socio-political nature of this film emphasizes its contemporaneity and builds an inheritance that will remain present in the History of Portuguese animation cinema.
Abi Feijó’s filmography is one of most representative of this legacy for it not only conveys an understanding of animation as a form of political resistance and social criticism but is also and open invitation to the spectator to question reality and the the way it’s perceived by society. As the former director of Cinanima António Gaio once declared “cinema is a weapon that makes you think” and Abi Feijó’s films go beyond entertainment, adopting an important position to give rise to a debate around the role of animation as a medium of resistance in permanent dialogue with its contemporaneity.