João Botelho films ‘The Year of Ricardo Reis’s Death’

Director João Botelho is filming the adaptation of the novel “The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis” by José Saramago, with Brazilian actor Chico Diaz in the lead role, revealed the production company Ar de Filmes.

The shooting began last week and will continue until the end of May, with footage in Lisbon, Coimbra and Entroncamento.

The cast is headed by Brazilian actor Chico Diaz and also includes Luís Lima Barreto, Catarina Wallenstein, Victoria Guerra, João Barbosa, Rui Morrison and Rui Mestre Amaro.

João Botelho adapts a work of Portuguese literature and at the same time returns to the universe of Fernando Pessoa, two fields that have been part of the cinematography of the director.

José Saramago wrote remarkable novels, created unforgettable characters and treated like nobody the Portuguese language, yes, the one that unites us all, which makes us a country, as he invented in an admirable text, Fernando Pessoa,” said João Botelho in the note of intentions , admitting that he was “hopelessly hit in the brain and heart” by this Nobel novel of Literature.

Published in 1984 – 35 years ago, therefore – “The year of Ricardo Reis’s death” was spent in Lisbon in 1935, when the physician Ricardo Reis returned to Portugal after having spent more than a decade in exile in Brazil.

To live up to this remarkable romance of fantastic realism, I decided to shoot in black and white, for the verosimilitude and clarity of the lights, the shadows, the various grays where the characters will move, afflicted or enthusiastic …” In the final plans an explosion of colors must allow the spectator to be transported to contemporary times, “says João Botelho.

In the March issue of the digital magazine Blimunda, from the José Saramago Foundation, made available today, the editorial is dedicated to the novel and the film and it is recalled that Saramago “puts Ricardo Reis to walk through Lisbon and to dialogue with the ghost of Pessoa while the world is on the verge of the beginning of World War II and witnesses the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. ”

Before joining Saramago’s work, João Botelho has adapted, inspired or made cinematographic versions of literary works by authors such as Agustina Bessa-Luís (‘The Court of the North’), Fernando Pessoa (‘Film of the unrest’), Fernão Mendes Pinto (‘Pilgrimage’) and Eça de Queirós (‘The Mayas’).

José Saramago’s literary work has also had previous film adaptations, such as George Sluizer’s “The Stone Raft”, Denis Villneuve’s “The Duplicate Man,” and Fernando Meirelles’s “Essay on Blindness.”

According to Blimunda, the film, which has the support of the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual and the Institute of Contemporary History, is expected to be completed later this year.

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