"Revolution and Subversion in Portuguese VideoArt Early works by Julião Sarmento" Curators: Bruno Marques and Érica Faleiro Rodrigues Organisation: Centre for Portuguese Language and Culture (King’s College, London) and Utopia - UK Portuguese Film Festival
ABSTRACT: A special screening of some of Julião Sarmento's work that openly opposed the Salazarist state repression and the profound cultural conservatism of the era.
We must consider the revolutionary character of the explicitly erotic images produced by a young Julião Sarmento against the context of Portuguese Salazarism, which lasted 48 years and only ended with the carnation revolution of 1974. The political repression enacted by the regime had inflicted a suffocating morality at the service of the most conservative poles of Portuguese society. Sarmento's experimental films openly oppose state repression and profound cultural conservatism against everything that is explicitly erotic. For this reason, as it is being produced, much of Sarmento's work can be thought of as being dissident, since it articulates sexual pleasure with the desire for knowledge. Among the peculiarities of a research that places him in the avant-garde tendency of cinema-art, are the questions raised around counterculture and libertarianism. In this regard, it is noteworthy Sarmento's Super 8, anti-diegetic and dilating film works, directly subsidiary to the anti-cinema of a Andy Warhol. What Sarmento seems to have retained from his dissident appraisals of Sade, Bataille, etc, and the underground cinematic vagabondages of Warhol, Brakhage, Snow, Mekas and Smith, is a real fascination with the subversive. List of films: Legs (15*) Fixed frame shooting of a sequence centered on the bare pubis of a female body. A slow and sensual alternation of forward and backward leg movement repeats indefinitely. Portugal 1975 Dir. Julião Sarmento 3´45´´ Copies (15*) Two naked women face each other replicating self-directed gestures and caresses. Near the end, the director steps out of his voyeuristic shadow, to turn his hand to playing the exhibitionist. Portugal 1976 Dir. Julião Sarmento 14´23´´ Faces (15*) Close up of an endless kiss between two women, centered on their mouths and the movement of their tongues. Portugal 1976 Dir. Julião Sarmento 44´22´´