Pictures of Ghosts
The classic movie palaces of central Recife are all but gone now. This film by Kleber Mendonça Filho is a love letter to cinema and this Brazilian city, which for the director are inextricably bound together. It was at cinemas such as Art Palácio, Trianon, and São Luiz that Mendonça Filho discovered the art form that would shape his life. Recife has changed dramatically, and Mendonça Filho has come to take stock of its cinematic ruins.
This seaside metropolis was the setting for the director’s earlier films Aquarius (2016) and Neighboring Sounds (2012). Now it is the springboard for an emotionally moving and playful essay about his parental home, the former movie houses in the city, genre cinema, and the Nazi ties that film distribution had there in the past.
The three chapters are suffused with a love of film. Mendonça Filho wanders through the apartment where he grew up, and visits a now-closed cinema. Archive footage recalls the golden era when stars like Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis visited Recife. The third chapter explores the relationship between film and religion: the Eldorado and Albatroz cinemas were, tellingly, converted into churches. We thus see the director creating a new, personal map of the city, through the lens of cinema.
Programme Type: Film
Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho
Running Time: 91 minutes