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The Northern Land

João Botelho
A Corte do Norte
Portugal 2008 / 122’

The Northern Land is an adaptation of a novel from 1987 by Agustina Bessa-Luís. Emília de Sousais is one of the greatest Portuguese actresses of the end of the 19th century. As a result of her marriage to a rich man from Madera, Gaspar de Barros, she becomes the baroness Madalena do Mar. Desperate and oppressed by the surrounding world, she resolves to create a mystery that would last for four generations, more than a century. Emilia de Sousa alias Sissi alias Rosalina alias Rosamund alias 'stinking grape' alias 'little goat' - all these roles of women who run from the world and from their gender, are boldly played by the beautiful Ana Moreira. The characters' dramatic stories intertwine and overlap (sometimes unnoticed by the viewer) growing around the cliffs of Corte do Norte, where the sullen family residence is located. Saturated colours, theatrical lighting and rich chiaroscuro make one think of 19th century paintings.

Wild hearts and anxious glances of the distant female ancestors survived generations. Will unravelling of the shameful though fascinating mystery of yore bring relief?

Agata Bratek

João Botelho

Director and screenwriter, born in 1949 in Lamego (Northern Portugal) is a leading figure in the contemporary Portugese film industry and founder of the critical and theoretical journal, M. He enrolled in mechanical engineering at the University of Coimbra and in cinema at the Escola Superior de Cinema do Conservatório Nacional. His films won several awards.

Selected filmography:

1976 Um Projecto de Educação Popular

1982 Conversa Acabada

1985 Um Adeus Português / A Portuguese Farewell

1993 Aqui na Terra / Here on Earth

1998 Tráfico / Traffic

2003 A Mulher que Acreditava Ser Presidente Dos EUA / The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States

2005 O Fatalista / The Fatalist

2008 A Corte do Norte / The Northern Land

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