By Pedro Pinho
ALBERTO, a Portuguese environmental engineer who has decided to make a change in his life, travels to a West African metropolis to work in an environmental impact report on a road-building project to link the jungle and the desert. Taken aback by the harshness of the elements, the oppressive heat and the inherent loneliness that a white European has to endure in a society dominated by rampant capitalism and a post-colonial mentality, ALBERTO meets EMA and BEN.
Just like him, these two local residents are motivated by a strong desire to escape and shake off their origins. For ALBERTO, the connection between the three of them becomes the only guarantee of his mental health in the midst of a process of brutalisation and generalised barbarity that is widespread among his expatriate colleagues at both the building yard and the NGO offices.
As the rainy season approaches, everything seems about to fall apart. Between the unconcealed conflicts with local communities and suspicions about global economic interests, ALBERTO, EMA and BEN engage in an intimate relationship with unequal expectations, which implies strong questions on identity.
Pedro Pinho has lived in and studied cinema in Lisbon, Paris, Barcelona, Maputo and Mindelo. His first documentary, Bab Sebta (co-directed with Frederico Lobo), debuted at FID Marseille, 2008, where it won the Marseille Espérance Award. Bab Sebta also won prizes for Best Documentary Film at DocLisboa (Portugal) and at ForumDoc BH (Brazil). Um Fim Do Mundo/The End of the World, a medium-length fiction film, debuted at the Berlin Festival in 2013, having won awards at the Coimbra Caminhos do Cinema Português, and was nominated for the Portuguese Golden Globe awards. The documentary, As Cidades e as Trocas/Trading Cities (co-directed with Luisa Homem) debuted in 2014 at FID Marseille, and was shown at the Art of The Real in the Lincoln Center, NY and at DocLisboa.
In 2017, he debuted A Fábrica de Nada/The Nothing Factory, his first feature-length fiction film, at the Cannes Festival Directors’ Fortnight where he won the FIPRESCI International Critics award. Since then, A Fábrica de Nada has received around 20 awards at festivals all over the world. Not only was it chosen by the critics as the best film at Cannes in 2017, it was also considered the best film of the year by the Público newspaper, and the best film without commercial distribution in the USA by the American magazine, Film Comment. The German newspaper, Die Zeit considered it to be “one of the most important films of today”. A Fábrica de Nada was commercially distributed in Portugal, France, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Belgium, the former Yugoslavia and Argentina.
His films have been shown at festivals, showings and retrospectives in places such as: MoMA, the Lincoln Center, the Berlinale, BFI, the MALBA, the MACBA, Serralves, FIDMarseille, Toronto IFF, Rotterdam FF, CPH DOX, the Rio Festival, Mar del Plata, Festival de Popoli, Busan FF, FICUNAM, ND/NF, Cine Europeu de Sevilha. L’Alternativa de Barcelona, Festival de Munique, Festival de Taipé, Janela, Carbonia, Lussas, FIC Valdivia, Karlovy Vary, FoR, among others.
In 2009, with five fellow filmmakers, he founded Terratreme, a collective that in recent years has come to the forefront as one of the most active producers of Portuguese cinema. At Terratreme, he has had the chance to collaborate with other directors such as Luisa Homem, Leonor Noivo, Tiago Hespanha, Susana Nobre, João Salaviza, Filipa Reis and Miller Guerra, and Basil da Cunha.
Cast and Crew
Director/ Writer – Pedro Pinho
Production – Terratreme Films
Coproduction – Still Moving (France), DeFilms (Romania), Bubbles (Brazil)