by Catarina Alves Costa
color, 55 min, 1994
Portuguese with English subtitles
In the Portuguese village of Senhora Aparecida, an industrial area near Oporto, the annual festival that takes place every 15th of August is being prepared. The biers that reach fifteen meters high and which are carried by 70 men are being erected and decorated. The penitents order the coffins that will carry them, in a procession, to the chapel as is the secular tradition. The Portuguese film crew arrives with the intention of filming this spectacular festival. However, another dramatic story is about to unfold and the filmmakers are there to document events as they happen.
A new, young priest arrives to take over their parish and he has his own ideas about how religion should be practiced in the town. He is "modern" (in one scene we can see his desk top computer in the background). He wants to put an end to the coffins procession. Conflict is inevitable.
Strikingly filmed with a sense of tension which captured the drama inherent in the situation, Senhora Aparecida has been singled out for attention at many international film festivals.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Prize European Massimo Troisi: Best Film in Culture and Tradition from Portugal, 2000
Honorable Mention, Festival Internacional de Documentário, Loures, Portugal, 1995
Cinéma du Réel, Paris, Centro George Pompidou 1995
Gottingen International Film Festival, Germany 1996
5th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film, University of Kent, 1996
First Prize, VII Rassegna Internazionale di Documentari Etnografici, em Nuoro, Italy, 1996
American Museum of Natural History's Margaret Mead Film Festival, NY 1996
Award of Excellency, Society for Visual Anthropology/American Antropological Association Film Festival, San Francisco, 1996
University of California Film Festival, 1997
3ª Mostra Internacional do Filme Etnográfico, Museu de Folclore, Rio de Janeiro