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Requiem

Alain Tanner CH 1998 100'

Paul, the narrator, has a rendezvous at noon on a sweltering Sunday. The person he has invited is none other than the great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa… who is no longer among the living. It leads to a whole series of encounters between living Lisboans… and phantoms of the past, as the barriers of conventional time fall away to allow the people of today and yesterday to meet and communicate.

"This story is set in Lisbon on the last Sunday in July, between midday and midnight. That Sundaywas apparently the hottest day of the year. It was also a very unusual day, engenderinghallucinations and the most amazing encounters.Time has unravelled, dissolved in the oppressive heat. Past and present merge into one. The livingand the dead meet and settle accounts. In the footsteps of the poet Fernando Pessoa, in a desolateLisbon, between dream and reality, people from the present and ghosts from the past converse in amanner both grave and light-hearted, and shrug off their burden of regret between midday and midnightof the last Sunday in July…“In REQUIEM, Tanner's classic frontier assumes an exclusively temporal, inner connotation. Nothingin the Portuguese city inhabited solely by symbolic figures distinguishes reality from dream,and the only demarcation line that stands out with any clarity is that between past and present.This Lisbon is a city of the soul (not of the unconscious because, as a lottery-ticket seller pointsout: ‘We have nothing to do with “Mitteleuropa”, we have soul'), but still a last landfall, a place onthe edge, a land projecting into the ‘beyond', on account of the ancient finis terrae imprinted on itsDNA.”
Paola Malanga, Filmmaker