THE FILM CYCLE RUNS MAY 18-23

at the Auditório Soror Mariana, starting at 18h00
FREE ENTRANCE

All films are selected by Professor LUCY DURÁN, curator for the film cycle, Festival Imaterial, 4th edition, in Evora, Portugal. All films are exceptional ethnographic documentaries by acclaimed directors. The over-arching theme of the film cycle is the relationship of traditional music and land. The films span a wide geographical focus (from Kyrgyzstan to Cuba) and a time frame of 50 years. The earliest footage is from 1984, What's Cuba Playing At, on May 23 and the most recent footage is the European premiere of The Nightingales’ Song, on May 18.

All films will be introduced by a 3-5 minute video, where possible by the director, or otherwise a close team member.
Tengir-Too, Mountain Music from Kyrgyzstan
Tengir-Too, Mountain Music from Kyrgyzstan
kyrgyzstan 2003, 20'
Auditório Soror Mariana
18 May / 18:00
SAODAT ISMAILOVA

Tengir-Too
is a moving portrayal of traditional musicians of Kyrgyzstan, in both rural and urban environments, revealing how nomadic music has had to readapt to urbanisation and is trying to survive and adapt to modern days. It shows epic story-tellers, instrumentalists and vocalists performing and talking about their music, filmed on location by Saodat Ismailova for the Aga Khan Music Programme. This short documentary is the perfect introduction to the theme of the film cycle at Festival Imaterial 2024: the relationship of music to land.

SAODAT ISMAILOVA

Saodat Ismailova is an Uzbek filmmaker and artist graduated from Tashkent State Art Institute and Le Fresnoy, France’s National Studio of Contemporary Arts. Interweaving myths, rituality, and dreams within the tapestry of everyday life, her films investigate the historically complex and layered culture of Central Asia which stands at the crossroads of diverse material histories and migratory legacies. She initiated the Davra research group in Central Asia, 2021. In 2022 she participated in 59th Biennale of Venice and presented new work at the exhibition, Documenta Fifteen. Also in 2022, she received The Eye Art & Film Prize, Amsterdam. Her works are in the collections of Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Centre of Pompidou, Paris, Guggenheim Museum, Abu Dhabi, FRAC Corsica, among others.

TENGIR-TOO, MOUNTAIN MUSIC FROM KYRGYZSTAN
Kyrgyzstan 2003, 20'
THE NIGHTINGALE’S SONG
England 2024, 40'
Auditório Soror Mariana
18 MAI / 18:00
The Nightingale’s Song
The Nightingale’s Song
england 2024, 40'
Auditório Soror Mariana
18 May / 18:00
EMMANUEL VAUGHAN-LEE, ADAM LOFTEN

European Premiere

The voices of nightingales have lit up the forests of England at night every summer for over a million years, inspiring generations of writers, artists, and musicians. But as climate change and development impact the birds’ wintering and nesting grounds, they may disappear from the country within the next 50 years. In The Nightingale’s Song, we meet Sam Lee, a folk singer who draws on an ancient lineage of traditional folk music that he studied with Scottish travellers as he joins this elusive bird in spontaneous mutual song. Re-entwining human voices with the creative virtuosity of the nightingale, Sam conjures a deepening relationship of care, stewardship, and love with these remarkable creatures and the living world we share. The delicate balance between nature and music portrayed in this film resonates perfectly with the values of Festival Imaterial, who are proud to present its European Premiere.

EMMANUEL VAUGHAN-LEE

Director Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is an Emmy- and Peabody-nominated filmmaker and founder and executive editor of Emergence Magazine. He has directed and produced numerous award-winning films including: Earthrise, Sanctuaries of Silence, The Atomic Tree, Counter Mapping, Marie’s Dictionary, Isle de Jean Charles, Elemental, A Thousand Suns and What Would it Look Like.

ADAM LOFTEN

Co-director Adam Loften is an Emmy- and Peabody-nominated filmmaker whose projects have premiered at SXSW, and Tribeca and screened at film festivals around the world. His work is featured on PBS, National Geographic, Emergence Magazine, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The New York Times.

TENGIR-TOO, MOUNTAIN MUSIC FROM KYRGYZSTAN
Kyrgyzstan 2003, 20'
THE NIGHTINGALE’S SONG
England 2024, 40'
Auditório Soror Mariana
18 MAI / 18:00
The Left-handed man of Madagascar
The Left-handed man of Madagascar
madagascar 1991, 50'
Auditório Soror Mariana
20 May / 18:00
JEREMY MARRE

First shown on the BBC TV series “Under the Sun” in 1991, This film is the unique story of the enchanting “Hira Gasy” travelling theatre groups of Madagascar (now an endangered tradition). The film follows one large multi-generational family with their left-handed grandad (who does most of the commentary to the film) as they travel in search of livelihood through the central highlands of Madagascar, living in a rickety van and stopping in the countryside to work out new routines. They perform mainly at the lively reburial ceremonies, when bodies, mostly just bones, are lovingly exhumed from the grave, rewrapped in clean cloth by their families and then carried through the crowds, in a joyful act of remembrance of ancestors that is unique to this island. Despite overwhelming poverty, the left-handed man and his family are full of pride in their art, which they show off with humour and creativity.

JEREMY MARRE

Jeremy Marre (1943-2020) was a prolific and acclaimed British documentary film director who directed over 100 films, often exploring and introducing to new audiences popular and traditional music from around the world. An early success was Roots Rock Reggae (1977) filmed in Kingston, Jamaica and followed by the rest of the groundbreaking Beats of the Heart series (1977-1983) with an accompanying book. Other notable work included On The Edge: Improvisation in Music (1992) narrated by Derek Bailey; Soul Brittania (2007); and film biographies of a large number of well-known artists and musicians, including James Brown, Amy Winehouse and “The Capeman” with Paul Simon. Jeremy was a brilliant interviewer who inspired trust in his subjects. The Left-handed Man is an example of his unique work.
Singing for a Lost Country
Singing for a Lost Country
albania / greece 2007, 63'
Auditório Soror Mariana
21 May / 18:00
BERNARD LORTAT-JACOB

This moving film, made by celebrated French ethnomusicologist Bernard Lortat-Jacob, follows the trail of Shaban Zeneli, gifted singer from southern Albania, as he crosses the border into Greece clandestinely to be reunited with family and perform the beautiful communal polyphonic songs of the region. This is the ‘lost country’ – known as Chameria, whose inhabitants are known as Chams (in Greek, Tsamides). Chameria comprised what is now part of southern Albania and northwest Greece, which share a language, history and music. But that region was divided in two in 1912 with the Balkan Wars, when Greece claimed most of Chameria. Later, in 1944-45, the Muslim Chams on the Greek side were persecuted, many of them fleeing across the border, many others massacred. This painful, little-known story of “a lost country” is the background to Shaban Zaneli’s strong emotional connection to the memory of Chameria, which he expresses in passionate song around the dinner table in Greece, with family and friends informally joining in with sublime polyphony – surely one of the greatest musical treasures of the Balkans.

BERNARD LORTAT-JACOB

Bernard Lortat-Jacob is one of the world’s most distinguished and influential ethnomusicologists, with a long list of publications including books, audio recordings and documentary film. The role that music plays in notions of personhood and identity is one of his main concerns, as is evident in his film Singing for a Lost Country. He is probably best known for his work on Sardinian polyphony, as in his 1995 book Sardinian Chronicles, celebrated for its lively, beautifully written descriptions of the different kinds of traditional music, sacred and secular, on the island that he considers his spiritual home; but he has also worked on deep traditions in Morocco, Romania, Albania, and other locations around the Mediterranean.
What's Cuba Playing At
What's Cuba Playing At
cuba 1984, 75'
Auditório Soror Mariana
23 May / 18:00
MIKE DIBB

This joyous, vibrant tour-de-force film was shot in Cuba on the 25th anniversary of the Revolution by award-winning film maker Mike Dibb in 1984, a year of remarkable musical creativity on the island. The film is a who's who of the constellation of legendary Cuban musicians, featuring stunning footage of groups in their emergent formations, like Los Van Van, Irakere, Muñequitos de Matanzas, and Changüí de Guantánamo, all today still going strong; as well as unique footage of some of Cuba's greatest, long passed-away band leaders and composers, such as Enrique Jorrín, who demonstrates to camera with immense charm how he created the Cha cha cha, one of the most influential Cuban musical genres of the 1950s and 60s. A film that will grip anyone who loves Cuban music and its world-wide legacy.

MIKE DIBB

Mike Dibb is a British documentary producer/director, who has been making films for television for many years on subjects ranging from cinema and music to art, sport, literature, science and popular culture. These include several films with the UK writer John Berger, beginning with “Ways of Seeing” (UK BAFTA award 1972) - the hugely influential BBC TV series and subsequent best-selling book about art. In addition to “What’s Cuba playing at",Dibb’s later feature-length music documentaries include “The Miles Davis Story” (NY EMMY award 2001),” Keith Jarrett - the art of improvisation”, and “Tango Maestro - the life and music of Astor Piazzolla”.