Our Beloved Month of August (Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto)
Miguel Gomes, Portugal, 2008, 35mm, 149’
Arganil, Portugal, early 2000s. Enter: a filmmaker, some close friends, and a script. Lacking: actors, money, the largesse required to make a conventional film. Deciding to make do with what they have, Gomes and his skeleton crew cast locals as actors, and start to document the bacchanalia of the high-tourist season in this Portuguese vacation town. The barriers between fiction, direct cinema, making-of, and mockumentary all melt in this film, a tincture of summer drunkenness, haze, and tourists’ yelps.
“There’s a scene with two non-professional actors chatting, surreptitiously recorded by Gomes. One of them complains that the director keeps changing the lines on him… Minutes later, the other, whom we first met performing karaoke but who becomes the band’s drummer in the second half, is whistling a throwaway tune, which, about half an hour later, is performed for the first time by Estrelas do Alva. It’s the title track, at first just another song among many songs, and only becomes catchy when performed by the full band, vocals and all. This small recognition hints to the ways that in Our Beloved Month of August direction, screenwriting, and editing have molded as one in a magical place somewhere over the rainbow.” (Mark Peranson, Cinema Scope)