Filipa César

Porto, 1975
Lives and works in Lisbon

Filipa César’s recent filmography reflects on the contemporary history of Portugal, in particular on the marks and representations of dictatorship, oppression and colonialism. Her work examines the history of political events through their ideological representation in discourse and images, particularly those produced as a counterpoint to official narratives, conveying spaces of resistance and freedom.

Some of her films explore fictional aspects of documentary cinema, focusing on dissent and invisibility of non-normative bodies during the authoritarian and conservative political regime in power in Portugal between 1933 and 1974, such as the accounts of smugglers who helped deserters and activists flee the country over the border at Melgaço, or of the homosexual women who were exiled to a forced labour camp in Castro Marim.

Filipa César also investigates the history of the cinema of struggle and liberation in Guinea-Bissau, seeking to give visibility to its emancipatory, anti-colonial, collective, ethnographic and avant-garde project through immersion in its visual and sound archives.

Critically incorporating some of her experiences in film archives, creating the conditions for their restoration and promoting their viewing and discussion in various places inside and beyond Guinea-Bissau, Filipa César seeks to reactivate and reinterpret the utopias of the past in the present.

Lígia Afonso
[Plano Nacional das Artes and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian]
Curator, teacher and researcher born in Lisbon in 1981
Text originally written for Google Arts & Culture apropos the exhibition “All I Want, Portuguese Women Artists from 1900 to 2020”, curated by Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand
© Susana Pomba