Cinemateca Portuguesa joins A Season of Classic Films with the premiere of the new digital restoration of Maria do Mar (Leitão de Barros, 1930), the masterpiece of Portuguese silent cinema, on Saturday 12 June at 20:00 WEST, in the centennial venue Teatro São Luiz (Lisbon) and accompanied by Bernardo Sassetti’s musical score, commissioned by Cinemateca and performed live by Orquestra Sinfonietta de Lisboa. There will also be an online screening on 23 June.
Maria do Mar is a local synthesis of the European film avant-gardes of the 1920s, combining the boldest formal composition and montage, with an inquiring ethnographic look at the fishing community of Nazaré (now world-famous after its inclusion in the big-wave surfing circuit). Its balanced mix of modernity and tradition, as well as its deliberate conflation of the documentary and the fiction modes of representation, make it a founding moment in the history of Portuguese cinema, and a landmark of the European film heritage.
The new digital restoration of Maria do Mar presents the version restored by Cinemateca Portuguesa in 2000. The new digital copy comes from the 4K digitisation of the film’s original camera negative. The image’s digital restoration and colour correction were made by Cineric Portugal.
Bernardo Sassetti’s musical score was originally commissioned by Cinemateca in 1999. It was orchestrated by Vasco Pearce de Azevedo, Bernardo Sassetti, and Luís Tinoco, and recorded in 2010 by Bernardo Sassetti (piano), Filipa Pais (vocals), and the Orquestra Sinfonietta de Lisboa (conducted by Maestro Vasco Pearce de Azevedo), with José Pedro Gil, Vasco Pearce de Azevedo, and Bernardo Sassetti as the recording producers. The score is now part of the new digital copy of Maria do Mar and will be performed live in Teatro São Luiz on Saturday 12 June.
A Season of Classic Films is a series of free screenings across Europe. The initiative is coordinated by the Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (ACE) and is supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme. The films are presented by 22 members of ACE with the aim to increase visibility to the richness of their collections and raise awareness of film preservation and culture, especially among young adults.
Maria do Mar | Portugal, 1930, 105′
Director: Leitão de Barros. Producer: Sociedade Universal de Superfilmes (SUS). Cast: Rosa Maria (Maria do Mar), Oliveira Martins (Manuel), Adelina Abranches (aunt Aurélia), Alves da Cunha (Falacha), Perpétua dos Santos (Falacha’s wife), Horta e Costa («Peru»), António Duarte («Lacraio»), Maria Leo (Maria’s friend), Mário Duarte (doctor), Celestino Pedroso (Colonel), Rafael Alves (officer), Galiana Murraças and Bernardina (women). Direction, script, editing: Leitão de Barros / Sequence: António Lopes Ribeiro / Photography: Manuel Luís Vieira, António Salazar Dinis / Intertitles: Norberto Lopes / Lightning: José Correia / Set photo: Ferreira da Cunha. Physical characteristics of first release: 35mm, 105’, B&W, silent, Portuguese intertitles. Film copy screened during A Season of Classic Films: New digital restoration in 4K with newly-recorded music of the original music composition. DCP after digital restoration, 105’, B&W, with recorded original musical score, Portuguese intertitles. Available subtitles: English/French. Copyright: Leitão de Barros’ heirs (film work), Bernardo Sassetti’s heirs (music score of the restored version of the film).
Local screening: Teatro São Luiz, 12 June 2021, 20:00 (WEST)
Online screening: www.cinemateca.pt, 23 June 2021. Available with English and French subtitles.