Letters from War directed by Ivo M. Ferriera, has been selected as Portugal’s submission for the best foreign language film category of the 89th Academy Awards. The Academy of Portuguese Film has also submitted the film to the Goya Awards in the Best Ibero-American Film category.
The black-and-white film starring newcomer Miguel Nunes and Margarida Vila-Nova, had its world premiere at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival.
Based on António Lobo Antunes’ real letters to his wife, Letters from War tells the story of the Portuguese colonial war throught the letters between a portuguese soldier in Angola and his wife.
‘This war turns us all into insects struggling for survival’ writes young military doctor António to his pregnant wife in Portugal in 1971. He has been posted to Angola to serve in the Portuguese Colonial War. His words are full of pain but also tenderness, filled with a deep longing for his beloved wife and their unborn child. At the same time, António’s regular letters provide a picture of his daily life in these foreign parts, including his discovery of the fascinating nature, his encounters with the local people and how he takes care of a young orphaned girl. But, increasingly, war rears its ugly head, and his letters home also become spiritual missives from a doomed world.
Based on letters written by António Lobo Antunes and published in 2005 as ‘This life here described on this piece of paper’, Ivo M. Ferreira has created a parable in which reality and imagination merge. In shimmering black-and-white images, a mixture of journal, war report and declaration of love, the director creates a poetical essay in which the images and the doctor’s chronicle are held in a striking tension. [Berlinale 2016]