The film was inspired by the letters exchanged between two leading Portuguese poets, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen and Jorge de Sena, during the exile of the latter (1957-78).
Jorge de Sena was forced to leave Portugal due to political and other circumstances. He moved to Brazil and then to the USA, pursuing an academic career. He would never return to his home country.
The correspondence between the two poets is testimony to their quest for freedom during a period when Portugal’s fascist regime was under increasing pressure. But their letters also offer an insight into the profound affinity between two human beings. Theirs was a rare friendship that both were determined to sustain, unblemished, until death.
Through their poetry and their letters, the film builds a dialogue between longing and belonging, the “desire to fill years of distance with hours of conversation”. At the same time, it establishes a correspondence with our own lives fictionalized under the ties and entanglements that hold us together.
Rita Azevedo Gomes is a versatile and independent artist whose enduring interest is in exploring new avenues of expression. Her career dates from the early 1970s and spans cinema (with Manoel de Oliveira, Noronha da Costa, Werner Schröeter, Eduardo de Gregório, Valeria Sarmiento and others) theatre (Chekhov’s The Seagull; Claudel’s The Exchange; Sophocles’ Antigone, Racine’s Bérénice; etc.) and opera (The Fairy Queen, King Arthur, La Traviata, Idomeneo, Platée, The Carnival of the Animals, etc). For over 30 years she worked closely with João Bénard da Costa, first in the Gulbenkian Foundation’s Cinema Department and then, after 1993, at the Cinemateca Portuguesa. During this time she has established a solid reputation for her graphic design work in film catalogues and cinema-related publications. Her films have been screened and acclaimed in international film festivals – Venice, Montreal, Bafici, Turin, Viennale, Jeonju, Doc Lisboa, Marseille, Cinesul Rio, to name a few – and distributed in Portugal, France and Spain. In 2014, Bafici organized a full retrospective of her work. Rita Azevedo Gomes works as a programmer for the Cinemateca Portuguesa. She also curates exhibitions and publications. She is now working on her next movie.