PANAJI: Portuguese filmmaker Vicente Alves Do O is in Goa for the screening of his film Florbela at the 43rd International film festival of India (Iffi), but he has also brought with him an unexpected guest - worry that his country could be moving towards intellectual bankruptcy with 100% cut in finances to filmmakers in a nation where cinema is fully state funded.
The filmmaker said that Goans should stop coming to Portugal as they have no future in the country. "Please don't come to Portugal. Goans should not come there. People are moving out of Portugal and Europe because it is dying. Europe will be finished in 10 years," Vincente said.
The director said that Europe is being rigid in its thinking and this reflects in the films it churns out. "European filmmakers are depressed. They all make the same kind of films. Europe is still thinking of itself as this power who had once ruled the world. We are not that anymore. Portugal is a poor country. We need to reboot ourselves like a computer now to survive in these competitive times or Europe will die. We need to reinvent," Vicente said.
"It is a cultural tragedy that the Portuguese government has cut funds 100% for films this year and not a single film has been made in Portugal in 2012 because of the European crisis. As it is, we make only 12 films a year, which is the number India makes in a day. Our government is so rightwing they are cousins of (Mitt) Romney," Vicente said.
He said that there are already restrictions on subjects of films as they are government funded. "There are people who have robbed banks and are infamous but you never see films being made on them. You will never see Portuguese films about politics. This is because there are restrictions on filmmaking in a sublime way as you get your funds from the government and the law does not permit private funding for films," the outspoken filmmaker said.
He said that the elderly in Portugal have already given up. "We only see teenagers in the cinema halls in Lisbon. The older generation has given up. And the teenagers only want to watch American films and not Portuguese ones," Vicente said, whose film Florbela speaks of the unconventional life of an influential 20th century female poet. The filmmaker believes the way Florbela lived her life breaking away from convention has a lesson in store for Europeans today.
"We don't trust our class of politicians and we don't see a way out into the future at present. But artists have that responsibility to show that way forward. You cannot make films who no one understands and absolve yourself of that responsibility," Vicente said.