17 - 25 Nov 2023

It's impossible, for a festival that has always defined itself as a tool for understanding and transforming society, not to begin this editorial by addressing the most pressing issue of our time: the return of war to the world stage. This is a civilisational step backwards, a tragedy that we were not prepared for - neither us, nor anyone else. Over the centuries, wars have always martyred innocent people in the name of causes that are often disconnected from the interests and concrete experiences of the communities involved. We see this every day in the violations of human rights. In Europe and, once again in the Middle East, the most terrible atrocities are being committed. It's intolerable. And these are just the most visible - and most violent - faces of an economically and politically dominant structure that stubbornly preserves, if not reinforces, the various forms of inequality that foment the conflicts themselves.  

When we set out to define the programme for the tenth edition of the festival about a year ago, we were drawn to certain functions of film that have, since then, and for the worst possible reasons, gained unavoidable prominence and urgency. We believe that, in the face of the daily horror spread by the media and social networks, a return to the cinema of the real is necessary - the medium par excellence for describing the world in its extraordinary complexity, and presenting multiple points of view. This is why, as in previous editions, we have tried to ensure that this selection of films and authors reflects our times and presents Porto's audience with a contemporary and multifaceted look at the world (both inside and outside the cinema). We present these programmes in the hope that they might spark broad discussion about collective memory, the world of work, borders, the environment, the transformation of institutions, susceptibility to manipulation, access (or the lack of) to justice, education and healthcare. In other words, a programme that aims to affirm the role of art as a fundamental element in the lives of citizens, especially for younger generations.

All these areas of thought and all the questioning associated with them can be seen in the festival's various competitive sections, as well as in the author spotlights and parallel programming (with special emphasis on the ‘Forum of the Real’ and the ‘Call to Action’ series of talks). This year, more than ever, the cultural diversity of the films chosen seeks to x-ray the turmoil of the world, sometimes revealing intimate, subjective perspectives, and at other times, revolutionary possibilities. What is important to emphasise is that these films - all of them, each in their own way - are films made in freedom, and for freedom. 

After ten years, the festival finally arrives at the cinema it has always been waiting for:  Batalha Cinema Centre. The oldest cinema in the city - and one of the oldest in the world - where cinema is synonymous with community and social interaction. It is therefore a great joy to arrive at this venue with the strong intention of transforming the festival into a moment of closeness to the city and its people and - more importantly - a means of bringing people closer to each other through the unique power of cinema as an art that is both popular and civic. The long shadow of the pandemic, which made isolated viewing of television and streaming services ubiquitous, still hangs over many viewers. We need to reclaim the cinema as a space for social gathering, a meeting point and a place for reflection and sharing. To do this, we need - more and more - to relearn how to tell stories. To this end, this year viewers can explore our ‘Where are our storytellers?’ programme, as well as reflect on how stories are also told through words, melody, dance and social movements in our sessions celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip hop; a movement born precisely as a form of revolt against forms of cultural, social and aesthetic oppression.

Porto/Post/Doc is also strengthening our commitment to promoting film production (particularly in the north of Portugal and Galicia), bringing together artists and professionals from the film industry through co-production meetings, project development (Arché-Porto) and, most importantly, funding new productions about the forgotten heroes of the city of Porto; the workers (Working Class Heroes). Throughout the festival, either through the events in the Industry section or the training courses promoted by the 180 Media Lab and the new Critics Lab, the aim is to consolidate the critical, reflective and media landscape, making those involved in the world of communication aware of their role as cultural mediators. Finally, film students, young people and the curious public can discover the new promises of national cinema (Cinema Novo) and a programme designed specifically for schools and families.

Come and discover us at the beautiful Batalha Cinema. This is everyone's home, the home of cinema.