Directed by: #AnaPio
Written by: #PedroBrum
Set in 1974 Portugal, #shortfilm Eden tells a tentative story about a group of boys growing up in a Catholic seminary. The effects of the dictatorship that rules the country can be seen in numerous ways, most of which have cultivated a cold and oppressive environment for these kids to grow up in.
Rodrigo Quadrado plays Pedro, one of the boys whose proclivity for breaking the rules creates a palpable tension between him and Father Joaquim (Miguel Sá Nogueira) who is in charge of these boys. However, as Pedro and his friends go about their daily activities, mostly focusing on football, we see glimpses of a society ready to abandon their culture of censorship and strict rules for something altogether more open and nurturing.
Loaded with political themes and historical context, Eden is a short film that benefits from a rich background that is close to director Ana Pio's own heart and Portuguese heritage. Writer Pedro Brum brilliantly captures the balance between the hardened adult rules that swarm the environment and the innocence of the younger people with dialogue that is often curt and harsh being juxtaposed with scripted moments of glee amongst the kids - especially when they are playing or watching their beloved football.
ABOVE: the official movie trailer for Eden.
A few of the sequences screamed student film. The use of a roving camera shot of the boys’ sleeping quarters and of an outdoor figurine were both jolting exercises in movement that didn't suit the more bleak atmosphere that had been established. That being said, there were some brilliant set pieces to be found elsewhere, such as the boys having a kick-a-bout through the building, or the boys scarpering off to bed when they think Father Joaquim is going to catch them in the act of reading a naughty magazine.
The relevance of the short film is easily found if you are so inclined. The acceptance or rejection of the status quo is an ongoing dilemma for all societies and this debate is no less pressing today. By combining the aspects of a dictatorship with a coming-of-age narrative, Eden is a movie that speaks volumes about the fundamentals of our humanity and the great things they can overcome.
This is superb and thoughtful #filmmaking with a powerful story and a clever tone that embraces all levels of society as one.