Carlos Conceição (Angola/P 2019)
Carlos Conceição's first full length feature SERPENTÁRIO unfolds before our eyes as an hypnotic journey between memories and premonitory visions, and the idea of voyage as starting point for a personal and collective search. The film and the gaze of Carlos Conceição, a long-time collaborator of João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata, is inextricably rooted in his personal journey, and that of his family, from Angola (where he is originally from) to Portugal. Through undefinable landscapes, haunting mythology and sci-fi ruins, the search for the director's mother and his origins begins. SERPENTÁRIO progressively takes shape as a cinematic alter ego that speaks of the act of leaving, setting out, exploring. Preoccupations such as colonialism, slavery and the relationship between the land and people who belong to that land are embedded in the idea of a spiritual quest. SERPENTÁRIO unfolds as an odyssey, an ancestral road movie, suspended between multiple dimensions that take us through the desert, ruins, history, future and all those places of life and death. However the serpentarium is also the place where snakes are bred, it is the job of those who carry them, the constellation from which it's possible to observe the world. As in a long stream of consciousness, SERPENTÁRIO is a personal and existential reflection relying on associations of ideas and spaces that plays with Proust, with our soul, in a continuous digression where in turn courted by ladies wearing eighteenth-century laces around their necks; passengers in a van or the Three Caravels; gunslingers in the saloons of the Wild West or astronauts looking for another dimension beyond space and time. What are we looking for ? Identity, belonging, tradition, roots represented by a mother left behind and whose absence keeps returning in dreams and memories yet as a physical, palpable and haunting presence.