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Is there anything more important for cinema than light? One could say it is basically the essence itself of the Seventh Art, with thecapacity to generate shape and produce sense from it, thereby creating content as well. This is basically what Acácio de Almeida and Marie Carré tell in their Objectos de Luz (Love Lights), selected for Fuori concorso at Locarno 2022. The main character in this poetic journey into space, time and history of Portuguese cinema is the ‘Man of Light’, who travels through his memory - and at the same time the collective memory that has been forged by movies - in order to compose a personal history of light, of the astonishing technology that mixes together images and movement. The viewer can almost feel the cold iron of old cameras, smell the sharp odor of film, taste the vibrant contrast of black and white or ancient colors. Through the words of this old, wise man who looks at the world of filmwith love and a hint of melancholy, the two directors are capable of delivering some kind of fictional poem made non only of images, put formidably built on echoes of what movies were and above all meant: wonder. Objectos de Luz achieves the moving goal of reminding us that the human eye can capture light and turn it into emotion: especially in the second half as the movie develops into a form of more traditional narrative which brings the audience inside a bucolic universe where feelings like love and tenderness are protagonists. Acácio de Almeida and Marie Carré use this mix of documentary, old movies and their own footage with elegance and a kind of pioneers’ spirit: the result is a bold, inventive, passionate homage to light and its ‘magic’. The inner beauty of Objectos de Luz is also in the little details, in the colors and the shadows, in the harmonic music and the characters who pass through this movie with their smiles and their innocence.
There is a lot of great cinema in Objectos de Luz: not only that which de Almeida and Carré created but also the lesson of a Portuguese master like Manoel de Oliveira, and some distant echoes of Jan Švankmajer’s most subtle works. Something that the directors use with impressive coherence and respect. Creating a great little sparkle of light...