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Silence from beyond the Abyss in Manoel de Oliveira’s A Talking Picture

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This article explores Manoel de Oliveira’s travelogue film Um Filme Falado/A Talking Picture, released in 2003, the year in which Portugal joined the US-led coalition in the Iraq War. Here I discuss the ways in which the film recycles and subverts Portugal’s fifteenth-century maritime expansionist narrative and Sebastianist mythologies of the Crusade, as a means of exposing and criticizing Portugal’s late twentieth-century global alignment with post-9/11 anti-Islamicism. The result of this is a subtle remapping of the conventional West-to-East voyage of discovery in terms that actually underscore the origins of what the sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos terms the ‘abyssal lines’ delineating a globalizing North against a globalized South.

Keywords: 9/11; Empire; Filme Falado/Talking Picture; Islam; Manoel de Oliveira; Portuguese cinema

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Manchester

Publication date: November 20, 2012

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  • The journal aims to provide a platform for the study of new forms of cinematic practice and fresh approaches to cinemas hitherto neglected in western scholarship. It particularly welcomes scholarship that does not take existing paradigms and theoretical conceptualisations as given; rather, it anticipates submissions that are refreshing in approach and exhibit a willingness to tackle cinematic practices that are still in the process of development into something new.  
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