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Cannes Week Previews: 'Après La Nuit' (Tales From A Creole Slum In Lisbon)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 13, 2013 at 12:02PM

Cannes Week Previews: 'Après La Nuit' (Tales From A Creole Slum In Lisbon)
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Apre La Nuit

"There are quite a few bombshells" said an excited General Delegate Edouard Waintrop, when he announced the selection for the 45th Directors' Fortnight, which takes place starting THIS WEEK, from May 16th to 26th as part of the 66th Cannes Film Festival


The selection includes 7 first feature films and 3 second features out of the 21 titles on the list. 

Among them is Basil da Cunha's feature film debut, Après la nuit (Até ver a luz), a drama/thriller.

Here's how it's described:

Straight out of jail, Sombra returns to his life as a drug dealer in the Creole slum of Lisbon. In between the money he has lent and can’t get back, the money he owes, a fanciful iguana, an invasive little girl and a ringleader who begins to mistrust him, he starts to think that he might have been better off in the clink…

Pedro Ferreira stars as Sombra; he's joined by Joao VeigaNelson da Cruz Duarte Rodrigues, and Paulo Ribeiro in the film's starring cast.
 

Basil da Cunha is a 28-year-old Swiss filmmaker of Portuguese descent. In 2011 and 2012, his short films Nuvem and Os vivos também choram were selected to screen at the Director’s Fortnight where “Os vivos…” received a Special Mention from the Jury. 

So the young filmmaker has a history with the festival, which speaks highly of his work. Although I can't say that I'm at all familiar with his work, or what we can expect from Até ver a luz, his feature film debut.

After watching the below trailer, I had an immediate negative reaction to the familiar *slum* (or hood) narrative and accompanying drug dealing tales and violence. I just feel like I've seen this so much already of the black experience globally. And I'm wondering what makes this one stand out from the others.

We'll see eventually.

But I'll certainly check it out if/when it comes to my neck of the woods to determine if it's one of the few *bombshells* Waintrop had in mind when he made the above comment.

The last film I watched that was set in a Creole slum in Lisbon was a 1997 minimalist drama titled Ossos by Pedro Costa.

A gritty, slow-moving film that might be the opposite of Cunha's new drama in terms of pacing - based on the trailer for Après la nuit I dug up, embedded below.

It's not subtitled in English; but I think the images tell you plenty:



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