Miguel Gomes

This November Block Cinema will present the works of Portuguese director Miguel Gomes, an exciting new voice in international cinema whose work is touring the US for the first time this year. Like his stylistic forebears of the French New Wave, Gomes began his cinematic career as a critic. While his debut short, Meanwhile, adheres to an understated emotional realism, his follow-up, A Christmas Inventory, pulls back the curtain to reveal the playful formalist waiting to emerge. By the time his first feature, The Face You Deserve, hit the festival circuit, Gomes had already distinguished himself as an anarchic stylist fueled by the themes and narrative logic of dreams, fairy tales, and improvisational music. In his latest, the charming Our Beloved Month of August, the director mixes documentary and fiction with the seemingly effortless fluidity of a seasoned DJ.

Meanwhile (Entretanto) + A Christmas Inventory (Inventário de Natal)

Thursday, November 4, 2010 6:00 PM FREE

In Portuguese with English subtitles

Though somewhat distinct from the shorts and features that would follow, Meanwhile showcases several of the stylistic flourishes that predominate the cinematic language of Gomes’s work: a freewheeling sense of time and space, sudden shifts in plot or tone, and the juxtaposition of childhood innocence and adult concerns. A Christmas Inventory expands his visual vocabulary by using props and environment to tell a story: close-ups of colorful wrapping paper seem to depict fantastically festive landscapes, and a theatrically lit arrangement of Nativity figurines forms a somber, pageant-like tableau. Meanwhile (1999, 35mm, 25 min.); A Christmas Inventory (2000, 35mm, 23 min.)

Our Beloved Month of August (Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto)

Thursday, November 4, 2010 7:00 PM FREE
(Miguel Gomes, 2008, Portugal, 35mm, 147 min.)

In Portuguese with English subtitles.

Director Gomes’s follow-up to 2004’s The Face You Deserve doesn’t so much as blur the line between documentary and fiction as it allows one to inform and inspire the other. While on location in rural Portugal (ostensibly to shoot a Red Riding Hood-themed horror film), Gomes runs afoul of his exasperated producers as he and his crew turn their cameras on a nearby music festival. Interviews with performers, guests, and the locals seem to inspire yet another transformation, as the film abruptly segues into a fictional tale of incestuous attraction between a young singer and her guitarist cousin. Introduced by film critic Gabe Klinger.

The Face You Deserve

Sunday, November 7, 2010 7:00 PM

Please note: Miguel Gomes’ debut feature, The Face You Deserve (2004) and his short film 31, screen on Sunday, November 7, at 7 pm at Cinema Borealis (1550 N. Milwaukee) in Chicago. Block Cinema quarterly pass holders will receive free admission on a space-available basis. Please check the following website for more information: www.nightingaletheatre.org