by Gabriele Ottaviani
O Homem de Trás-os-Montes, by Miguel Moraes Cabral, is one of the most interesting movies in Locarno Festival. The director told us why he decided to make this film, which is its meaning and which is for him the meaning of cinema.
Beyond the Mountains is the story of a quest in unknown lands. The gaze at the other is fuelled by the imagination and by fragments of other gazes that have wandered the same space before (the Guide of Portugal, the sidekick of the main character). Can we only see what we observe? And do we observe nothing but what was already in our mind?
I decided to make this film as a continuation of my previous work “Os Caminhos de Jorge”, a documentary about a knife sharpener in the north of Portugal. I followed him during several weeks along almost a year and a half. I had a lot of ideas about the film that I wanted to do and the reality that I discovered gave me a very different world comparing with what I had in mind. I tried to go beyond the exotic, the unknown and to make a film with this man, his and my anxieties.
I wanted to talk about this fantasies, the imagination, the prejudice about the other and the unknown, the quest of a hero looking for something that he doesn’t know what is it exactly.
Beyond the mountains is also an allegory of the act of creation: I try to reach this man with a donkey that contains a signification, like a key of a door that I have to discover. He shows the way giving you a meaning to your research.
Concerning the meaning of cinema, it’s very difficult to answer to your question. I use this medium to question the world that I have in front of me. I try to build my own language with its symbols without judging but to understand what it’s happening in my days.