From American Utopia to racial tension, this is the music at PPD 2020

by Porto/Post/Doc / 21 10 2020

Five films about music and their impact on the world around them make up the Transmission's program, a section dedicated to looking at some of the main trends in the musical universe that this year will have a prize for the first time. The chronicle about the movements of Soundcloud Rap, the rhythm that marks the streets of Baltimore, the creative processes of the KLF referentials, the social and political ignition raised by the Rock Against Racism movement and the life and work of the less known José Pinhal, are the stories that will occupy the venues between the 20th and 29th of November in the 2020 edition of Porto/Post/Doc. Still in the music field and to mark the opening session of the festival, the national premiere of American Utopia, Spike Lee's film based on David Byrne’s album and concert. To end the event, another premiere looking at today's hot topics, MLK/FBI: Sam Pollard’s work that is based on Martin Luther King Jr. while he is the target of an investigation insinuating persecution by this American police institution.

He is one of the most compelling names in music of the last 40 years. As founder of the eternal Talking Heads, solo or in the multiple collaborations, continually reinventing what he does, David Byrne has been leaving so much work that crosses generations, formats and artistic areas. In American Utopia, a project that was born as a record, in a partnership with Brian Eno, that soon grew to a multiverse of collaborations with names like Oneohtrix Point Never or Sampha, delivers once more project with roots from all around the world. As part of the Reasons to be Cheerful project, American Utopia starts from stories and moments of everyday life, urging us to rethink the way we see our surroundings and to restore our confidence in humanity. The film, premiering nationally here, accompanies the presentation of the record on Broadway, through Spike Lee’s lens.

Still on American soil, American Rapstar designs the most disruptive generation of rappers in recent years. Born in the digital environment, between Soundcloud and social networks, names like Lil Peep, Bhad Bhabie, Lil Xan and Smokepurpp have become true icons of a post-Trump generation, shocking the world with their ambiguous behaviours and ideas, the assumed consumption of legal drugs, facial tattoos and punk energy. In this documentary, by Justin Staple, we hear what these new millionaires have to say about todays youth culture and the future of the music economy throughstreaming. Fromdigital space to the streets with Dark City: Beneath the Beat, a documentary produced by singer and producer TT The Artist that focuses on  Baltimore's clubbing culture. Co-produced by Issa Rae (Insecure), the feature presents an audiovisual experience that mixes documentary language and music video, profiling the way this music scene is built from the local community, from close relations and from the Baltimore’s social climate. Also about community,  White Riot, is one of the mandatory musical films of 2020. Directed by Rubika Shah, the documentary mixes current interviews with archival footage to recreate the environment of anti-immigration hysteria and National Front marches experienced in England during the 1970s and how the Rock Against Racism movement became one of the main points of resistance against the spread of fascist ideas.

With immense space for creativity, music has occupied, throughout its history, characters and figures that break barriers, test limits and move passions. It is in this inspiring universe that we encounter the last two Transmission films. On one hand, the unavoidable KLF, seminal band of the acid-house movement, who is given a prominent place due to how they looked at music as a performative space as well as belonging to one of the most famous and controversial moments of the music world, when in 1994 they burned 1 million GBP. In Welcome to the Dark Ages, two decades after they abandoned what was a promising career in pop music, we find ourselves in the midst of a bizarre-creative universe by following them in their new project: the creation of a pyramids with ashes from their fans. On the other hand, and looking at our own national movement, A Vida Dura Muito Pouco - Celebrating the Work of José Pinhal, Dinis Leal Machado, a movie sensation that portrays the recovery and promotion of the work by José Pinhal, a musician who has inspired a new generation of Portuguese listeners, producers and musicians.

Final note for MLK/FBI, a film that sparks already existing tension and discussion between the American security forces and the country's black community. A tense documentary that tries to shed new light on how the FBI served as a tool for an established power campaign, using the ideas and actions of Martin Luther King, through a persecution that intended on weakening King’s authority as leader, by portraying him as an adulterer.

 The new confirmations will join the already announced special program of films and conversations  of A Cidade do Depois. Porto/Post/Doc returns between the 20th and the 29th of November 2020 in a double format: sessions in our venues, Rivoli, Passos Manuel and Planetário do Porto, and a parallel VoD programming on the Shift72 platform. The total schedule of the event will be revealed in the coming weeks.

 Porto/Post/Doc is carried out in partnership with the Porto City Council, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual and the patronage of the “la Caixa”/BPI Foundation.


American Rapstar, Justin Staple, EUA, 2020, DOC, 79' (National Premiere)
Dark City: Beneath the Beat, TT The Artist, EUA, 2019, DOC, 65' (National Premiere)
Welcome To The Dark Ages, Paul Duane, Irlanda, 2019, DOC, 83' (National Premiere)
White Riot, Rubika Shah, Reino Unido, 2019, DOC, 80'

A Vida Dura Muito Pouco - Celebrando Obra de José Pinhal, Dinis Leal Machado, Portugal, 2020 , DOC, 23'

American Utopia, Spike Lee, EUA, 2020, DOC, 105' (National Premiere)
MLK/FBI, Sam Pollard, EUA, 2020, DOC, 104' (National Premiere)

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