Alberto Seixas Santos – Sponsor of Figueira Film Art
Son of parents from Figueira, Alberto Jorge Seixas dos Santos was born on March 20th of 1936, in Lisbon. He graduated in Historic and Philosophical Sciences in the Faculdade de Letras of Lisbon University. In 1958 he started working as a film critic in several publications. In 1962 he studied in Paris, having gone to the Institut d’Hautes Études Cinématographiques and, in the following year, the London Film School.
Belonging to a generation of cineclubists (he was the director of the Lisbon ABC-Cineclube), Seixas Santos, filmmaker of the New Cinema movement, started by filming documentaries – A Arte e o Ofício de Ourives e Indústria Cervejeira em Portugal (1968). He was, in 1970, one of the founders of the Portuguese Cinema Center. In 1972 he started filming his first feature film, Brandos Costumes. The script, co-written by the director and the writers Luiza Neto Jorge and Nuno Júdice, draws a parallel between the day-to-day of a middle class family and the path of the regime that spurted from the military coup of May 28th 1926. Although the film (which, for its content, wouldn’t be shown before the end of censorship) was only finished in 1975, it includes some aspects filmed before that that seem quite premonitory, namely the reference to a (left wing) military coup at the end. This film was selected, in competition, for the Berlin Fim Festival.
He was one of the directors of As Armas e o Povo, also from 1975, a collective film that portrays the first week of the Carnatian Revolution, covering the events from April 25th to May 1st of 1974. In the same political vein, he directed in 1976 the also collective film A Lei da Terra, shown at the Leipzig Festival, which has as a subject the agricultural reform that was then taking place. In the same year he was named president of the Portuguese Cinema Institute (IPC). He was one of the founders of the cooperative Grupo Zero, to which directors like João César Monteiro, Jorge Silva Melo, Ricardo Costa, Margarida Gil, Solveig Nordlund and the director of photography Acácio de Almeida belonged to. Gestos e Fragmentos, from 1982, takes on the relationship between the military and power in Portugal, based on the life experience of the famous April captain Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, and the points of view of the philosopher and essayist Eduardo Lourenço and of the american journalist and director Robert Kramer. This feature film took part in the Venice Film Festival that same year. From 1980 to 2002 he was a professor at the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema (ESTC) and, from 1985, he was a programming director at RTP for some time.
His last feature film, Mal, from 1999, was presented at the Venice Film Festival. In these last two works he gave more room to fiction, valuing most of all the characters’ psychology and technical rigueur.
In 2005 he finished the short film A Rapariga da Mão Morta, which had its world premiere at the 13th Vila do Conde Short Films Festival.
· A Arte e Ofício de Ourives (1968)
· Indústria Cervejeira em Portugal (1968)
· Brandos Costumes (1975)
· As Armas e o Povo (1975) – collective film
· A Lei da Terra (1977) – Grupo Zero collective
· Gestos e Fragmentos (1982)
· Paraíso Perdido (1992-1995)
· Mal (1999)
· A Rapariga da Mão Morta (2005)