Jazz on Portuguese film: Belarmino (1964) and Alice (2005) – Two Milestones


In a broad perspective on the history of Portuguese film, both Belarmino and Alice play decisive roles. If the first is an inescapable reference for understanding what Portuguese Cinema Novo (New Cinema) was and what kind of artistic rupture was taking place in the 1960’s in Portugal, the second also marks a breakup from former Portuguese film-making and a rapprochement to broader film audiences. The fact that both films have jazz music as soundtracks come not just as chance, but also as a relevant circumstance. Both movies and their music form a wealth of information about Portuguese society and its jazz community at two different times: in the sixties under Salazar’s dictatorial Estado Novo regime; and at the beginning of the 21st century as a full member of the European Union.

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