Projects

Almada, Um Nome de Guerra

Mixed media by Ernesto de Sousa with an original music composition by Jorge Peixinho, 1969–1972.
Film (35 mm and 16 mm; black & white and color; silent) and slide (black & white and color) projections, variable between presentations; sound (recorded music, with possible live music interventions, text readings and input of other audio sources); and printed graphic material (posters and stickers). Variable duration: 20'–40' (short version) or 240' (complete version). 


This work has been and will continue to be very difficult for me, specially having had great doubts about how to make what I want (and about this I have much fewer doubts).
And why? Because it is a case – for me – of life or death...
I will explain. There are two fundamental reasons.

The first: What encountering Almada Negreiros has meant to me. That he is perhaps the most extraordinary Man I've had the chance to meet doesn't really add much to the case. But that by invoking him I discover a NAME OF WAR for everything or most of the things that I'm interested in doing, that is what I increasingly feel the need to manifest. Risking interpretations (both literal and literary) I will say: what we are preparing is mainly the result of a meditation with Almada, the name of war for a modernity which interests me. Now and here. And a proposal for other meditations.

The second reason: TO BEGIN is the only thing that interests me (precisely like Almada Negreiros). I've started something important with Dom Roberto. (...)
Now I'm trying to begin, and to break another silence with this NAME OF WAR.
And to begin is terribly difficult.

Ernesto de Sousa, "Ainda não filmei as varinas todas: o anti-filme Almada, Um Nome de Guerra", Diário de Lisboa, Abril 16th, 1970.


The film was initially shot in 35 mm. In order to facilitate its screenings outside of conventional film theaters, a 16 mm reduction was made. At the previously mentioned presentations, the editing of the film were done directly on the positive of the projected 16 mm copy.

The "complete version", that never came to be, was supposed to lengthen the sessions into get-togethers with late meals, informal discussion of the work of Almada Negreiros and of the filmic process of Almada, Um Nome de Guerra, and the sale of posters and film scraps in order to generate the revenue needed for further production and recovery of invested capital. Sessions of this kind were to be filmed and later integrated in the film-in-process.

In addition to the slides made from a graphic experimentation with parts of the script, this mixed-media also included others like those of the details of Almada Negreiros' panels for Cinema São Carlos in Madrid, or those produced for Luiz Vaz 73.


Script for the mixed-media, film direction and editing by Ernesto de Sousa.
Cinematography by Manuel Costa e Silva.
Assistant directing by Carlos Gentil-Homem (filming) and Fernando Curado Matos (editing of the version shown in 1983).
Music by Jorge Peixinho, interpreted by Grupo de Música Contemporânea de Lisboa (Carlos Franco, António Reis Gomes, Clotilde Rosa, Lopes e Silva, Jorge Peixinho, Júlio Campos, Alejandro Ramirez, António Oliveira e Silva, Lúcia Afonso and Helena Cláudio).
Sound recording by Antero Gabão, Alexandre Gonçalves and Fernando Pires.
Graphic Direction by Carlos Gentil-Homem.
Slides with photography by Ernesto de Sousa, designed by Carlos Gentil-Homem.
Produced by Isabel Alves and Ernesto de Sousa.
Supported by Instituto Português do Cinema.
With the collaboration of the Comission for the filme Almada, Um Nome de Guerra; Colorprint studio (London) and Estúdio Quid (Vigo); Cooperativa Diferença and of the artists who offered their works to be auctioned in order to finance the film.


"Short versions" presented at:
Galeria Nacional de Arte Moderna, Lisbon, June 1979.
Fundación Juan March, Madrid, December 1983.
Fundación Joan Miró, Barcelona, February 1984.
Centro de Arte Moderna da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, September 1984.